NEW YORK (
) -- Sexual harassment
allegations that have arisen about Herman Cain don't appear to have shaken the supporters who have catapulted the former Godfather's Pizza CEO into the top tier of Republican presidential candidates.
Cain responded to the allegations on Monday, saying he had never sexually harassed anyone in his 40 years of business experience. Cain
confirmed that he had been accused of sexual harassment while at the National Restaurant Association, and said the accusations were false.
Though the news could pose a critical hurdle to Cain's campaign, supporters contacted by
were unfazed by the reports and said they will continue to back the surging candidate.
"I saw where he responded to the questions today and I was satisfied with his answer; and, so, I'm a Herman Cain supporter -- have been and will continue to be," Rufus Montgomery, managing director of government affairs at Hall Booth Smith & Slover in Atlanta, told
who donated $2,500 to Herman Cain and listed himself as a lobbyist, said he hadn't been contacted by the campaign and that he found out about the allegations in the news.
Cain donor Lamar Gable also said that he wasn't surprised about the allegations, and that he expected the candidate to be smeared at some point.
"I think a lot of people are
tired of these kind of 11th-hour things," Gable told
Gable, chairman at Barron Collier Companies in Naples, Fla., said that he is a registered Democrat and supports many candidates, including Cain. Gable donated $2,500 to the campaign in July, but a history on the FEC website shows that the businessman has
contributed $23,950 to various Florida Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate since 2003.
High-profile presidential candidates handle allegations differently, which makes it hard to predict whether this could ultimately derail the "
Some public figures manage scandals with little collateral damage (see Sen. John McCain's
lobbyist affair allegations in 2008), while others fail to deflect the charges and eventually see their campaigns topple.
"To say that it's a game-over moment, I don't know," said Patrick Arnold, a political strategist, in an interview with
. "It all depends, you know, some candidates it sticks to and some it bounces just right off, and whether or not he can weather it will depend on his handling of it and the public's response."
Arnold and Gable both admitted that they were surprised by the specific sexual harassment allegation. Asked if this could be a political smear attempt, Arnold said a presidential campaign can't be lost by political games.
"That alone does not win campaigns," Arnold said. "Anyone can burn down a house; you got to give people a reason to vote for you as well. It's a multi-step process to getting a vote, and simply saying 'Don't vote for the other guy,' doesn't mean
voters are going to vote for you."
Gable said he thinks Cain is a "good guy," and that he believes Cain will get through these allegations once people see Cain's character
How the Cain campaign decides to handle the allegations in the coming week could determine if the candidate stays relevant in the GOP race. Cain's supporters seem ready to fight, but there are some things that neither Cain nor his donors can control.
"I guess it's a combination of timing, substance and what's going on in the media cycle that day," Arnold, the political strategist, said.
-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.
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