When Politico revealed the sexual-harassment charges against Herman Cain over the weekend, it would have been fairly easy for the Republican candidate to dismiss their relevance. They were the musings of the liberal media! Or a targeted hit from an opposing campaign! As Jamelle noticed Monday, conservative luminaries like Rush Limbaugh jumped to defend Cain. Politico followed up yesterday morning with a story about how unconcerned Iowa Republicans were with the scandal.
That should change today. Further allegations have been leveled against Cain, this time by a prominent Iowa conservative. Radio host Steve Deace suggested to Politico that Cain made inappropriate remarks or advances to his show's staff members:
Deace, who penned an opinion piece critical of Cain earlier this month, told POLITICO in an email that Cain said "awkward" and "inappropriate" things to the staff at his station.
"Like awkward/inappropriate things he's said to two females on my staff, that the fact the guy's wife is never around...that's almost always a warning flag to me," Deace wrote. "But I chose to leave that stuff out [of the opinion piece] and make it about his record and not the personal stuff."
Who exactly is this Deace guy? He was a major figure during the 2008 caucuses. He hosted the primetime afternoon show on WHO-AM, the Des Moines radio station with powerful sway among the state's conservative base. Deace was a vocal Mike Huckabee proponent and helped catapult the former Arkansas governor to his '08 victory. He is also a close ally of Bob Vander Plaats, a leading figure of the state's Christian conservatives. Vander Plaats lost his bid duringt the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2010, but he outperformed expectations in the Des Moines area after appearing frequently on Deace's program. When Vander Plaats launched his successful campaign against three Supreme Court justices last fall, Deace gave the campaign plenty of positive airtime that helped get things off the ground and into the public conscious.
Since that time, though, Deace receded from his spot atop Iowa's conservative media network. He ran for the county GOP chairmanship in the Des Moines area and resigned from WHO-AM after he lost that bid. He disappeared for a while, only to re-emerge with a new syndicated radio show, albeit one with a diminished platform. Instead of airing every afternoon when commuters are stuck in their car, Deace appears on WHO-AM from 10 p.m. to midnight and as a result, has been absent from caucus politics until yesterday .