It was announced Thursday that GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain will be the first Republican contender this election cycle to receive such a high level of protection from the U.S. Secret Service. He is only the 12th presidential candidate overall to receive such protection during the campaign process.
“We are protecting Herman Cain,” Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said according to Politico. The decision was made by Homeland Security “Secretary Napolitano, at the request of the Cain campaign and in consultation with the Congressional advisory committee.”
“The authority was given to the Service to protect Herman Cain [beginning] today,” Donovan said Thursday night. The Secret Service has declined to give details as to the exact reasons for the protection but the Cain campaign has suggested it was due to threats and the media.
"When he gets out at a rally or a campaign stop, it has been increasingly common for media to be physically putting themselves and others in danger by trying to follow him with a lot of heavy equipment and cameras in close quarters like we saw yesterday," J.D. Gordon, spokesman for Cain said to The Washington Post.
Cain, who has recently been confronted with allegations of sexual misconduct in the 1990s, has reportedly received racially-fueled death threats.
According to The Associated Press, the threats go as far back as June:
“On June 1, Cain's campaign office in Stockbridge, Ga., reported receiving a call from someone who did not identify himself but who claimed to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The man said that Cain, who is black, should not run for the White House.”
According to the law, fron-runner candidates and their immediate family get Secret Service protection within 120 days of the presidential election. However, the Homeland Security Secretary may also grant protection to other candidates based on recommendations and with the approval of a delegate of congressional leaders.
The earliest contender to received protection was then-candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 election cycle. He received the Secret Service in May of 2007.
Secret Service protection is not cheap for the taxpayers. So far, the Secret Service has requested $113.4 million to protect the Republican nominee. According to The Washington Post, this is up $4 million from the 2008 campaign.