The surging campaign
Block says the campaign has exceeded his own expectations: Cain pulled off a surprise victory in the Florida Straw Poll on Sept. 24, prompting a much-needed infusion of money from donors. Some polls now show Cain in the top tier of candidates.
“We’re farther ahead right now than where we planned to be,” Block said. “Starting in January with the announcement of the exploratory committee, we had wanted steady, week-by-week increases.”
Block told TheDC the Cain campaign has “strategies in place to continue that momentum,” including “rolling out more bold policy initiatives.”
“Some of the things you’re going to see in October are going to be as bold as 9-9-9,” Block said, referencing Cain’s catchy slogan for his tax reform proposal.
Cain himself named the plan, which Block said is “marketing genius.”
“If you walked through airports with him right now,” Block said, “or if you’re doing events or walked through restaurants, people say ‘you’re that 9-9-9 guy.’ It use to be ‘hey, you’re the pizza guy.’ He’s not the pizza guy anymore, he’s the 9-9-9 guy.”
The strategy to keep the momentum going, he said, also includes hiring more staff — the campaign has suffered a series of departures, most recently spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael — and putting resources in additional states. Block acknowledged that some people are skeptical about the campaign’s plan to visit places like North Dakota, or other states that don’t hold early primaries, but he argues it’s part of a “strategic delegate-count strategy.”
“Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina are very important,” Block said. “But so is Florida, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee.”
Cain writes in his book that Block, whose Atlanta office wall is said to be covered with photos and mementos from his previous jobs, has a “talent for thinking out of the box.”
“In my case,” Cain writes, “thinking way out of that box. And that’s one of the reasons we have a great relationship.”