RALEIGH — Former presidential candidate Herman Cain said he expects the Republican presidential contest to extend well past North Carolina’s May 8 primary and possibly end in a brokered convention.
“The process has been unpredictable from the beginning,” Cain told reporters. “I believe that the rest of this process will also be unpredictable.”
Cain suspended his presidential campaign in December, pledging he “wouldn’t go away” despite allegations of sexual misconduct.
The former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive still sounded like a candidate in his remarks to the Wake County GOP convention, attacking Democratic President Barack Obama and touting limited government.
“Stay informed because stupid people are ruining America,” he said, referring to Democrats.
And despite the prolonged GOP presidential primary saga, Cain sought to focus the few hundred conservatives in the audience on the mission at hand: defeating Obama in November.
“When this process plays out, we will have a nominee, and we will rally around them,” Cain said.
Earlier in the day, Cain attended a fundraising rally in Wake Forest for Bill Randall, a Republican congressional candidate. Randall agreed to champion Cain’s 9-9-9 tax reform plan, joining more than 30 other congressional candidates nationwide who support a 9 percent flat tax on household income, a 9 percent corporate tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.
“We share the same values, and we are on the same mission,” Cain said of Randall. “And the mission to beat Barack Obama is also in addition to the mission of getting America back on track because we’re headed off of a cliff.”
Randall faces Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble and former U.S. Attorney George Holding in the GOP primary for the Raleigh-centric seat.
At the Randall event, Cain found folks who wanted him to make a last-minute bid for the Republican nomination at a brokered convention. He noted that none of the current candidates has enough delegates to win the first ballot in August in Tampa, Fla.
“Every American can be nominated” on the second ballot, he said. “It starts all over. You could have someone you’ve never heard of be the nominee. Or you could have somebody who may have dropped out of the race who would be the nominee.”
The remark brought hearty applause from the crowd of 300 people. “I’m just explaining the process,” Cain said with a mischievous smile. Cain later told reporters his chances are unlikely and he is not organizing a convention campaign.
“I never say never, but at this point I am not making any plans to be on the ballot,” he said.
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