NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says he is suspending his presidential campaign.
With his wife standing behind him, Cain made the announcement Saturday to a group of several hundred supporters in Atlanta who had gathered for what was supposed to be the opening of his national campaign headquarters.
“As of today, with a lot prayer and soul-searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” Cain said.
Cain’s poll numbers and fundraising have dropped amid a string of scandals capped by this week’s claim that he had a 13 year affair with Ginger White.
He abruptly canceled an important event with New York City’s media elite that was scheduled for Tuesday, the day before President Barack Obama was in town.
“I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family,” he said. “Now here’s why it hurts, because my wife, my family and I, we know that those false and unproved allegations are not true. So one of the first declarations that I want to make to you today is that I am at peace with my God. I am at peace with my wife. And she is at peace with me.”
But despite dropping out of the race, Cain said he’s not going away.
“I will not be silenced,” he said. “I will continue to be a voice for the people.”
Cain had returned to his home outside of Atlanta on Friday to speak with his wife and family about the scandals and his candidacy.
He said he will be making a presidential endorsement at a later date.
The former GOP candidate lost financial support after several allegations of sexual harassment. It all started October 30 when Cain was leading in the polls.
Reports surfaced that two unnamed women received settlements after filing sexual harassment claims against him while he was president of the National Restaurant Association.
Then on November 7, Sharon Bialek became the first accuser to go on camera, claiming that Cain inappropriately touched her.
On november 28, Ginger White of Georgia claimed she had a 13-year extramarital affair with Cain.
Cain denies it all. With his wife Gloria standing by him, he said she never asked him to quit.
“I saw the pain this mess was causing her and that’s why I made the decision,” he explained.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised him for bringing optimism and big ideas to the race.
“He had the courage to launch the 999 plan which, whether you liked it or disliked it, was a big idea and started to elevate the debate toward big solutions and not the usual nitpicking, consultant-driven negativity,” Gingrich said.
Cain is out of the race for now, but through suspending his campaign, he can still accept financing and receive matching federal funds.
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