Editor's note -- see these related stories:
Well, it seems GOP front-runner Herman Cain's bet on an unconventional video ad featuring smoking campaign manager, Mark Block, has paid off. As of the latest tally Friday morning, the Cain camp has raked in nearly $5 million in donations – earlier reported as $3 million — since the beginning of October. According to The Wall Street Journal, the cash surged even faster since the controversial ad aired on Monday.
“Our donations online have shot up a lot since that ad,” said Block, who claims the bizarre spot has now been viewed by at least four million people and counting since going viral.
“Yes, the smoking part of that ad was controversial—and I don’t in any way condone smoking—but the message that Herman Cain is a different kind of presidential candidate is certainly resonating across the country."
Block, who claims most of the campaign's contributions $60 each, insists the ad has bolstered, rather than hurt Cain's image.
“The money we are getting is wildly beyond our expectations,” he said.
During the last two fund-raising periods, covering six months, Mr. Cain raised $4.7 million from donors and chipped in $675,000 of his own money. But that was before Mr. Cain took off in national polls and became the latest favorite of conservatives who aren’t wild about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
If his cash inflow for this month doesn’t slack off in November and December–a big if–Mr. Cain would notch one of the best quarters of the campaign so far. Only Mr. Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are the only candidates so far to have tallied more than $15 million in any one quarter.
The campaign, in turn, is spending a lot more, especially on staff. Mr. Cain had 37 paid staffers working for him in early September. That number now sits at 60, Mr. Block said.
For reference, below is Cain's ad:
Below is a clip from The Blaze's earlier report of Block explaining the message behind the ad:
Is Cain's surge in campaign donations a direct result of his strange new ad spot? Weigh in with your thoughts.