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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Herman Cain's South Florida visit, a primer



Returning to the state that made him a rising star seven weeks ago, Herman Cain stumps Wednesday morning in South Florida as a different candidate, nagged by questions about his foreign-policy expertise and his handling of sexual-harassment allegations.

The cumulative effect of the bad news has tolled on Cain, who has dropped from frontrunner to runner up or third place candidate depending on the poll for the Republican presidential race.

But the former businessman and conservative radio show host is still a top-tier candidate. And his trip to South Florida Wednesday indicates he wants to stay that way.

Cain makes his first major stop at Versailles restaurant, a Little Havana nerve center for Miami-Dade’s politically active Cuban-American community, which accounts for more than 70 percent of the county’s 368,000 registered Republicans. Cain will later appear at Wings Plus in Coral Springs and then the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach.

Though the Tampa Bay media market carries the most electoral weight in a GOP primary – followed by Orlando – the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market accounts for about 13 percent of the average vote in the past four Republican primaries. The West Palm Beach media market made up another 9 percent.

South Florida can make a big difference. In 2008, John McCain rolled up an 80,000 vote margin against Mitt Romney, whom he beat by just 96,000 votes statewide.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 11:44am]


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