By Sandhya Somashekhar and Krissah Thompson, Washington Post
ATLANTA â€” The brief but dramatic campaign of Herman Cain ended on Saturday, when the little-known businessman who captivated the Republican race said the relentless attention on accusations of his sexual misconduct had become too much to bear.
Both defiant and passionate, Cain again denied allegations of sexual harassment and an extramarital affair, while declaring, â€œIâ€™m not going away.â€
But, he said, after â€œa lot of prayer and soul searching I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family.â€ Cain also cited difficulty in raising enough money to remain competitive.
Cainâ€™s decision is the latest twist in a Republican primary contest that has been marked by a search for a conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, the establishment favorite.
After a string of impressive debate performances, Cain assumed that role in late September. But amid mounting allegations and a series of gaffes, much of his support has shifted in recent weeks to former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who has joined Romney atop the polls.
The question now is where the rest of Cainâ€™s backing goes. Asked in an interview in Iowa last week if he would pick up Cainâ€™s supporters, Gingrich responded: â€œOh, sure.â€
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