Herman Cain gets treated as an also-ran in most coverage of the Republican presidential primary field. He's a part of the peloton, well back of the presumed front-running rivals, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.
Not this weekend, and not among conservatives in Orlando.
Cain, the former head of the Godfather's Pizza chain and the seeming winner of the most laugh lines at Thursday's presidential debate, stormed to victory in the Florida straw poll on Saturday, taking 37 percent of the vote to Perry's 15 percent.
It was a "major upset," said USA Today, and further sign of the weakening support for Perry among conservatives who want an alternative to Romney.
That Cain's big victory is primarily seen as a symptom of Perry's campaign woes is not going to please the die-hards who feel that Cain and other conservatives have been ignored by the media.
But the two front-runners are ignoring them, too. The New York Times reports that the Perry and Romney campaigns are hard at work compiling dossiers on each other's records. In Perry's telling, Romney will be what his 2008 rivals – and Democrats – alleged: an inveterate waffler and flip-flopper. And Perry, according to Romney, is a rank amateur, unready to assume command of foreign policy and insufficiently tough on illegal immigration.