Herman Cain (born December 13, 1945) is an American author, business executive, radio host, syndicated columnist, and Tea Party activist from Georgia. He was a candidate for the 2012 U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination.
Cain grew up in Georgia and graduated from Morehouse College in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics. Cain pursued graduate studies at Purdue University, and graduated with a Master of Science in computer science in 1971, while also working full-time for the U.S. Department of the Navy. In 1977, he joined Pillsbury Company where he later became vice president. During the 1980s, his success as a business executive at Burger King prompted Pillsbury Company to appoint him as chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, in which capacity he served from 1986 to 1996.
Cain was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Omaha Branch from 1989 to 1991. He was deputy chairman, from 1992 to 1994, and chairman, from 1995 to 1996, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. In 1995, Cain was appointed by Newt Gingrich to the Kemp Commission, and was a senior economic advisor to the Bob Dole presidential campaign. Cain became the CEO of the National Restaurant Association, in which he served as president and CEO from 1996 to 1999. During the Presidency of Bill Clinton, Cain publicly opposed the Clinton health care plan of 1993, about which he questioned the president at a town hall meeting. Cain has served as a member of the board of directors of several companies, including Aquila, Inc., Nabisco, Whirlpool, Reader’s Digest, and AGCO.
In May 2011, Cain announced his presidential candidacy. His proposed 9-9-9 tax plan, along with his debate performances, made him the Republican front-runner in fall of 2011, during which he briefly led President Obama in the polls. In November his campaign struggled to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied but still resulted in Cain suspending his campaign on December 3. The Pew Research Center reported that, of the Republican candidates, “Herman Cain was the most covered candidate in 2011.” After suspending his campaign, Cain first endorsed Newt Gingrich, and then on May 15, 2012 Cain endorsed Mitt Romney. He now advocates the creation of a conservative third party as an alternative to the Republican Party.