By Javier Manjarres
Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain was the keynote speaker at last weekend’s Sarasota GOP Statesman Dinner, and Cain was introduced to those gathered by one of Governor Mitt Romney’s state chairs, Florida State Senator Nancy Detert. Typical protocol at these these types of events is to have a supporter of the invited candidate do the introduction, so calling on Detert to introduce Cain was a bit suspect, as she was one of Romney’s earliest supporters.
During her introduction, Detert told the crowd that if they had been following the news lately, then they would “know more about Herman Cain than Herman Cain would want them to know about Herman Cain”- a clear reference to the sexual harassment allegations that have plagued Cain over the past month.
Several attendees at the dinner expressed their disgust with Detert’s remarks, believing that it was an orchestrated set up to take a cheap shot at Cain. One attendee event went as far as to accuse Sarasota Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters of putting Detert up to it, as he is now working for Detert as her 2012 state senate campaign treasurer.
While this is all speculation, several questions remain about this incident. Was Detert’s intro of Cain an opportunity to land a cheap shot at a candidate who enjoys significant name recognition and support in Florida? Or is Detert’s introduction a sign that she may be hedging her support for Romney, and is possibly considering a defection to the Cain campaign?