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In or out? Cain to say whether he'll stay in race

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is keeping supporters in suspense ahead of his expected announcement Saturday about whether he will quit the race after a string of sexual harassment allegations and a claim of an extramarital affair.

world Updated: Dec 03, 2011 20:10 IST

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is keeping supporters in suspense ahead of his expected announcement Saturday about whether he will quit the race after a string of sexual harassment allegations and a claim of an extramarital affair.

The Georgia businessman planned to announce his decision at what was supposed to be a festive opening of a new headquarters in Atlanta. The space was rented when Cain was surprisingly leading the Republican pack.

With the candidate's poll numbers plummeting and fundraising stalled, some campaign aides said privately they expected him to drop out. But Cain spokesman JD Gordon said late Friday that no decision had been made.

A meeting with top staff members was expected early Saturday.

Cain returned to his suburban Atlanta home Friday and met with his wife, Gloria. It was the first time they have seen each other face to face since 46-year-old woman, Ginger White, came forward on Monday, and said she and Herman Cain had carried on a 13-year relationship.

Cain has denied having an affair with White. He said the concern over the toll the allegations were having on his family as well as a candid assessment of whether his campaign could still attract the needed support would inform his decision on whether to press ahead.

Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza chief executive who has never held elected office, rose to become an unexpected front-runner in the volatile Republican race just weeks ago. A self-styled outsider, Cain enjoyed strong tea party support from conservatives who viewed him as an alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

But once in the national spotlight, Cain fumbled policy questions, leaving some to wonder whether he was ready for the presidency. Then it was revealed at the end of October that the National Restaurant Association had paid settlements to two women who claimed Cain sexually harassed them while he was president of the organization.

A third woman told The Associated Press that Cain made inappropriate sexual advances but that she didn't file a complaint. A fourth woman also stepped forward to accuse Cain of groping her in a car in 1997.

Cain has denied wrongdoing in all cases.

Polls suggest his popularity has suffered. A Des Moines Register poll released Friday showed Cain's support plunging, with backing from 8 percent of Republican caucus-goers in Iowa, compared with 23 percent a month ago.

Fundraising has also fallen off. He issued an email appeal to supporters on Friday asking for donations, in an attempt to gauge whether his financial support has dried up.