Herman Cain, the former pizza chain executive, indicated to members of his campaign staff yesterday that he will be reconsidering whether to stay in the race for the Republican nomination for president in the wake of an Atlanta woman coming forward and claiming she had a 13-year affair with him that only ended this year.
While Mr Cain was quick to deny that he had had an extra-marital affair with the woman, he said in a conference call to campaign workers that he needed to assess whether her claims, coming on top of earlier charges from four other women of inappropriate advances from him in the past, meant his bid would no longer be viable.
The woman, Ginger White, went on local television in Atlanta late on Monday and said she had phone text records and other evidence to prove that she had been Mr Cain's mistress for more than a decade and that the relationship had been broken off just eight months ago, shortly before he announced his intention to run for the White House.
"It was pretty simple," Ms White said in the interview. "It wasn't complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship."
Only a few weeks ago Mr Cain was riding a wave of support from conservatives that for a while put him at the front of the field of Republican hopefuls.
The slow drip of allegations from the women have taken a toll and even before the claims of Ms White he had slipped to third position in most polls. His fade has allowed Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, to emerge as the new challenger to Mitt Romney just weeks before primary voting is slated to begin. Meanwhile his campaign manager in Iowa, which holds caucus voting in just over one month, confirmed that the candidate would be considering his options.
"He said obviously it's taken an emotional toll on his family, but he's moving ahead with the campaign," said Steve Grubbs. "He said that they will be reassessing the campaign."
He added: "He said this lady was a friend, someone he thought was a friend, that he was trying to help out financially and had been a friend for some period of time. But that nothing inappropriate occurred."