Just as Herman Cain was fighting his way onto the road to a credible candidacy, his campaign seems to have taken a detour. In 24 hours, two of his top staffers announced their resignations and a new effort to raise funds fell flat.
Matt Murphy, Cain’s New Hampshire state director and his sole staffer in the key early primary state, officially stepped down on Monday citing a “strategic difference” with the campaign. “The differences involved the New Hampshire strategy and how much investment the campaign should put into New Hampshire,” he said, suggesting the campaign was not invested in winning there. Jim Zeiler, Cain’s regional field director, also confirmed Monday that he had resigned “to return home to my home in Wisconsin.”
Cain spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael says the campaign anticipated both departures and has already hired Murphy’s replacement, who will be announced in the coming days.
But news of the resignations comes at a difficult time for the Cain campaign. Despite finishing a respectable third in the Des Moines Register’s poll of Iowa Republicans on Saturday, A hyped “MoneyBomb” online fundraiser Monday raised just $61,000, according to Cain’s twitter feed. Hyperbolic tweets from Team Cain aside — “We’re VERY pleased!” – the haul was a mere pittance compared with similar one-day fundraising events held by his GOP rivals. Texas congressman Ron Paul raised more than one million dollars with a moneybomb in early June, and fundraising juggernaut Mitt Romney’s May call-a-thon took in eight figures in just 24 hours.
Of course, Cain strengths don’t lie in attracting donors or competing in New Hampshire. Like other insurgent populists, Cain’s chance to shakeup the field depends on pulling off an enthusiasm-driven upset in Iowa. And Carmichael insists the campaign is moving ahead unfazed. “It is a shock to us that this is considered news,” she says. “All campaigns have personnel shifts from time to time. We are expanding staff, not enduring a mass exodus.”