After months of relative obscurity, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO now ranks third in the latest polling from Fox News
Mitt Romney, save for a late conversion, never seemed to care much about getting tea-party votes.
Rick Perry, the Texas governor who entered the GOP presidential race last month, figured to supply a tea-party alternative to Romney at the top of the race. But after three debates in which his rivals attacked him relentlessly, it became clear that Perry's executive order requiring HPV vaccines for girls in Texas might undermine some of his small-government, libertarian credibility -- a must-have, along with a dedication to lower spending, for anyone seeking the support of tea partiers in 2012.
But the third-place candidate in the Republican presidential primary, according to the latest Fox News poll, is none other than Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza. He might just be the most formidable, and formidably pure, tea partier vying for the GOP's White House nomination.
Cain has rated as a back-bencher in 2012 surveys, collecting no more than eight percent in any major, reputable survey since mid-June. But Fox's latest, released on Thursday, placed Cain higher in the running than he's been at any other point:
Mitt Romney 23% Rick Perry 19% Herman Cain 17% Newt Gingrich 11% Ron Paul 6% Jon Huntsman 4% Michele Bachmann 3% Rick Santorum 3%
What's noticeable about this poll, other than a tectonic shift between Perry and Romney at the very top, is that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) plummeted, while Cain rose.