WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Elected officials from all around the country are mourning the loss of businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain.
“I just texted him yesterday, and (asked) ‘how you doing?'” Congressman Jody Hice (R-GA) said.
Hice knew Cain for 15 years and would often call him for advice on difficult votes.
“He never missed taking my call or calling me back,” Hice said.
Cain was admitted to an Atlanta hospital in late June after testing positive for COVID-19. He was diagnosed with the virus less than two weeks after attending President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa.
Georgia Republican Congressman Rick Allen said he had no idea Cain was sick.
“He was one of the greats,” Allen said Thursday.
Cain grew up in Georgia and ran for Senate in 2004. By 2012, he ran for president.
“Of course I was hoping he was gonna win the nomination, I think he would have been a great president.”
Cain’s former 2012 Republican competitor Utah Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted Thursday and called him a “formidable champion of business, politics and policy.”
Cain’s death comes on the same day as the funeral of another Georgian: Civil rights icon and longtime congressman John Lewis.
Many members of the Georgia delegation were at Lewis’ funeral when they heard the news about Cain.
Georgia Democrat Sanford Bishop was one of them. Bishop went to Morehouse College with Cain in the 60s.
“While we often disagreed on politics, we had a mutual respect and appreciation for one another,” Rep. Bishop said in a statement.
Another Democrat, Alabama Senator Doug Jones, sent his condolences to the Cain family and shared a reminder of how dangerous this pandemic is.
“It is not just a presidential candidate – we have 150,000 Americans,” he said.
Cain’s family tweeted from his account Thursday, saying, “you’re never ready for the kind of news we are grappling with this morning.”
Cain was 74 years old and a cancer survivor.