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Ghost of a chance? Herman Cain haunts Iowa caucuses

December 13, 2011|By Paul West
  • Out of the presidential race, Herman Cain remains on the ballot for the Iowa Republican caucuses next month.
Out of the presidential race, Herman Cain remains on the ballot for the Iowa… (Jason Getz / MCT )

Reporting from Des Moines, Iowa — Herman Cain may have left the Republican presidential campaign but his candidacy will live on in Iowa the night of the Jan. 3 caucuses.

Cain's name remains on the Iowa ballot -- the caucus vote is actually a non-binding presidential poll -- because he dropped out after the list was finalized by state GOP officials.

This isn't the first time that's happened. Duncan Hunter was similarly listed during the 2008 caucuses, even though he too had ended his campaign before Iowans opening the voting for the presidential nomination.  The Republican congressman from California wound up with just over 500 caucus votes (out of nearly 120,000 cast statewide).

Also on this year's Iowa ballot is Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and ambassador to China, who has said he is skipping the caucuses (though Republican voters in Iowa report getting phone calls on Huntsman's behalf).

A total of eight names, in alphabetical order, are on the ballot that Iowa Republicans will be handed at 1,700-plus precinct gatherings.

The presidential preference poll is the first order of business at the Jan. 3 caucuses (which also select delegates who will help decide who will ultimately get Iowa's votes at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., next summer.

Besides Cain and Huntsman, the choices are Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.  There is also a write-in line for supporters of Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Buddy Roemer and others who are pursuing the Republican nomination. 

paul.west@latimes.com

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