Herman Cain became the first presidential candidate in the current race to receive Secret Service protection on Thursday.
There is a threat against Cain, who was experiencing a bounce in the polls, according to an official with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified because of the topic’s sensitive nature. Information behind the threat is unclear.
Cain asked for the security from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and congressional leaders on Thursday, according to Secret Service spokesperson Ed Donovan to the Associated Press.
Donovan would not discuss why protection was provided.
"Due to the recent surge in the polls and the large crowds of enthusiastic supporters at recent campaign events, we are appreciative of the extra level of protection provided by these elite professionals," said Cain’s campaign in a statement.
According to the Associated Press, Cain's campaign office in Stockbridge, Ga., reported receiving a call from someone on June 1 who only identified himself as a member of the Klu Klux Klan. The man said that because Cain is an African-American, he should not run for the White House office.
"Tell him not to run" and "there's no such thing as a black Republican," the man said, according to a written statement that Cain's administrative assistant, Lisa Reichert, gave to the police.
The Washington Post quoted Cain spokesperson J.D. Gordon as saying the protection was requested after the newspapers reports on Thursday detailed physical skirmishes involving journalists covering the campaign.
U.S. News & World Report said Barack Obama, elected president in November 2008, received protection in May 2007, the earliest ever for any presidential candidate.
Secret Service protection is given to each major party's presidential nominee, but it can be provided earlier if the Homeland Security Department approves a campaign's request.