Herman Cain, Former C.E.O. and Presidential Candidate, Dies at 74

Herman Cain, who rose from poverty within the segregated South to change into chief govt of a profitable pizza chain after which thrust himself into the nationwide highlight by in search of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has died. He was 74.

His demise was introduced on Thursday on his website and on social media accounts. No different particulars had been offered. He had been hospitalized this month within the Atlanta space with the novel coronavirus after testing constructive for it on June 29.

“We knew when he was first hospitalized with Covid-19 that this was going to be a tough struggle,” Dan Calabrese, the editor of Mr. Cain’s web site, mentioned within the announcement. He added, “Though he was principally fairly wholesome in recent times, he was nonetheless in a high-risk group due to his historical past with most cancers.” (Mr. Cain had overcome colon and liver most cancers within the mid-2000s.)

Mr. Cain had attended President Trump’s indoor rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20 and had accomplished “lots of touring” just lately, Mr. Calabrese mentioned.

“I don’t assume there’s any approach to hint this to the one particular contact that precipitated him to be contaminated,” he mentioned on the time. “We’ll by no means know.”

In a video posted to his web site after the Tulsa rally, Mr. Cain said he had worn a mask whereas in teams of individuals. However he additionally posted photographs of himself on social media that confirmed him with out a masks and surrounded by individuals within the enviornment.

Calling himself an ABC candidate — American Black Conservative — Mr. Cain introduced an irreverent fashion to the marketing campaign path as he touted his by-the-bootstraps story in an enchantment to Tea Social gathering conservatives.

He dropped out of the race after he was accused of sexual misconduct, allegations he denied. However his celeb in conservative circles endured, and he turned an ardent ally of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cain mentioned he had change into a Republican after a Black man at a restaurant yelled out: “Black Republicans? There’s no such factor.”

“After I received again to Omaha,” the place he was dwelling at he time, “I registered as a Republican,” he told The New York Times Magazine in 2011. “It haunted me for 3 days that somebody would dare inform me what occasion affiliation I ought to have.”

Mr. Cain’s 2011 presidential marketing campaign was not his first foray into politics, nevertheless it catapulted him onto the nationwide stage. His platform was greatest identified for his 9-9-9 tax plan: a flat 9 % particular person earnings tax fee, a 9 % company tax fee and a 9 % nationwide gross sales tax.

After his marketing campaign ended, he continued to seem at political conferences and within the conservative information media. As soon as Mr. Trump took workplace, Mr. Cain’s title was floated periodically as a possible addition to the administration. President Trump thought of naming him to a seat on the Federal Reserve Board final 12 months, however a number of Republican senators indicated that they might vote towards his affirmation, partly due to the sexual harassment accusations towards him. He withdrew his title.

After the announcement of his demise, Kayleigh McEnany, the White Home press secretary, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Cain had “embodied the American dream and represented the perfect of the American spirit.”

Herman Cain was born on Dec. 13, 1945, in Memphis, to Lenora (Davis) and Luther Cain. His mom was a cleansing girl and home employee; his father, who grew up on a farm, labored as a janitor and a barber and as a chauffeur for Robert W. Woodruff, president of the Coca-Cola Firm, which is predicated in Atlanta, the place Herman was raised.

Herman graduated from traditionally Black Morehouse Faculty in Atlanta in 1967 with a bachelor’s diploma in arithmetic. He labored as a civilian ballistics analyst for the Navy and earned his grasp’s diploma in pc science at Purdue College in 1971.

He married Gloria Etchison in 1968. They’d two kids, Melanie and Vincent, and 4 grandchildren, according to his website. Full data on survivors was not instantly accessible.

After ending his training, Mr. Cain labored for Coca-Cola as a pc methods analyst. He then moved to Minneapolis to work for Pillsbury, and in 1978 he turned an govt within the firm’s restaurant and meals group.

At Pillsbury, Mr. Cain joined a coaching program at Burger King, an organization subsidiary, by which potential executives had been educated from the grill up, working as “Whopper floppers” and cleansing loos. He rose to supervise 400 Burger King franchises in Philadelphia, and his success in bettering their backside line led Pillsbury to nominate him to run its Godfather’s Pizza chain.

He served as chairman and chief govt of the chain from 1986 to 1996 and lived in Omaha, the place the corporate was headquartered.

Mr. Cain first gained broad consideration in 1994, when he had the possibility to spar with President Invoice Clinton throughout a nationally televised town hall-style assembly on well being care. Mr. Cain insisted {that a} broad Clinton well being care plan would price jobs. “If I’m compelled to do that,” he requested, “what’s going to I inform these individuals whose jobs I’m compelled to get rid of?”

Their well mannered, if pointed, forwards and backwards — Mr. Clinton pushed again with calculations that Mr. Cain declared “incorrect” — made the pizza govt a minor celeb, notably amongst conservatives.

One was Jack Kemp, a number one Republican member of Congress, who shared Mr. Cain’s free-market views. In 1996, when Bob Dole, the Republican nominee for president, selected Mr. Kemp as his working mate, Mr. Cain turned an adviser to their marketing campaign.

He left the pizza firm in 1996 and have become president of the Nationwide Restaurant Affiliation, a once-sleepy commerce group that he reworked right into a lobbying powerhouse.

On the time, anti-drunken-driving teams had been attempting to decrease the authorized blood-alcohol restrict to 0.08 % from 0.10 %, a change that restaurant homeowners feared would damage liquor gross sales. Mr. Cain known as as a substitute for stiffer penalties for drunken driving. That argument drew a pointed rebuke from Diane Riibe, a board member of Moms Towards Drunk Driving.

“Mr. Cain and people he represents are within the enterprise of promoting alcohol,” Ms. Riibe wrote, “not saving lives.”

The restaurant affiliation gave Mr. Cain an intimate view of the way in which Washington labored. And it helped him lay the groundwork for his first entry into electoral politics, a short-lived bid for the White Home in 2000.

After that, he turned co-chairman of the businessman Steve Forbes’s unsuccessful presidential marketing campaign. And that very same 12 months, he moved again to Georgia to focus on his motivational talking enterprise and to put in writing books espousing his enterprise and political philosophies.

They included “Communicate as a Chief: Develop the Higher Speaker in You” (1999), “CEO of Self: You’re in Cost” (2001) and “They Suppose You’re Silly: Why Democrats Misplaced Your Vote and What Republicans Should Do to Maintain It” (2005).

He sought the Republican nomination for the Senate from Georgia in 2004 however misplaced badly within the main to Johnny Isakson, who went on to win the overall election.

Lower than two years later, Mr. Cain obtained a prognosis of late-stage colon most cancers, which had unfold to his liver. He recovered, and he later mentioned he believed that his survival had proven that God had different plans for him. He credited God with persuading him to run for president after Barack Obama, a Democrat, took workplace in early 2009.

Mr. Cain printed a memoir, “This Is Herman Cain!,” in 2011, simply as he was saddling up once more for a presidential run. Some critics mentioned he was running for president to sell his book, and his journey schedule, which hardly ever took him to the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, resembled a guide tour greater than a critical marketing campaign.

Nonetheless, he grabbed consideration along with his novel “9-9-9” plan. Due to the power of his debate performances and a surprise victory in a Florida straw ballot in September, Mr. Cain did nicely in early polling. He was primarily tied with Mitt Romney, the previous Massachusetts governor who had constantly led most polls and who ultimately turned the Republican nominee.

Mr. Cain’s political downfall got here as swiftly as his ascent, after Politico reported that the Nationwide Restaurant Affiliation had paid settlements to 2 former workers who claimed Mr. Cain had sexually harassed them.

Different complaints piled up. He known as them smears dreamed up by his opponents and categorically denied them.

Then got here a grievance by a girl named Ginger White, who contended that she had had a 13-year extramarital affair with Mr. Cain that ended shortly earlier than he introduced his presidential bid. Ms. White produced telephone information to show that that they had known as or texted one another ceaselessly, and Mr. Cain acknowledged giving her monetary help. He mentioned his spouse of 43 years had been unaware of what he insisted was solely a friendship.

With Ms. White’s revelation, a few of Mr. Cain’s supporters and defenders started backing away, and he ultimately dropped out.

The flurry of consideration he obtained in his presidential run helped him land a job as a radio host in 2013. He additionally wrote columns for Newsmax and appeared as a commentator on Fox Information.

In the course of the 2016 election season, Mr. Trump, working as a businessman and a brash political outsider, drew early comparisons to Mr. Cain. At a time when many Republicans had been skittish about Mr. Trump, Mr. Cain got here to his protection, pushing again towards accusations that Mr. Trump was a racist.

After Mr. Cain’s demise was introduced, Mr. Romney, now a senator from Utah, took to Twitter to put in writing: “Saddened that Herman Cain — a formidable champion of enterprise, politics and coverage — has misplaced his battle with Covid. St. Peter will quickly hear ‘999!’ Sustain the struggle, my buddy.”

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