Georgia Tipsheet offers breaking news and analysis on the Peach State’s political, business and media landscape. The Washington Post named it one of the top state blogs in the country in March 2013. More.

Herman Cain, a Chambliss ‘wild card’?

  • Share it.

Herman CainHerman Cain’s improbable rise and ignominious collapse in the Republican presidential primary last year left him a man who appreciates what he has: a job.

In 2008, the former restaurant executive began hosting an eponymous radio show into which he parlayed some years later his presidential campaign. It was an inauspicious springboard to the White House, but it earned the conservative a throng indefatigable rabble-rousers.

Still, his charm and their loyalty were no match for claims of sexual harassment and infidelity. He surrendered the microphone to satisfy Federal Election Commission rules governing equal time and ended his campaign with nothing more than a mountain of debt and tainted national reputation.

But Cain remained widely popular back home in Georgia, where his old employer, WSB Radio in Atlanta, hired him to replace Neal Boortz, a fixture of conservative talk radio for the last two decades.

Cain said last year his “attention will be on exposing the economic pain and suffering to come from a second Obama term,” but news Friday that Sen. Saxby Chambliss would retire reignited speculation among Republicans in Georgia that Cain might reconsider.

But in multiple conversations Friday, GOP power brokers and party financiers told Tipsheet they believed Cain to be a “wild card” player in what most expect to become a wrenching, free-for-all primary to replace Chambliss.

Should Cain renege, he would again find himself in the same position as 2011: sacrificing his cushy radio gig for an uncertain and hostile campaign effort.

Boortz delivered his last broadcast on January 18 and Cain only assumed the microphone three days later, on Inauguration Day. He had only been on the air for five days before Chambliss announced his intentions to retire.

No, Herman Cain already has the jobs he wants.

- James Richardson