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As he's climbed into contention for the GOP presidential nomination, Herman Cain has relied on a campaign staff as unlikely as the candidate himself. There's Mark Block, the chain-smoking, mustache-sporting chief of staff who was once banned from working on elections in the state of Wisconsin. There's Rich Lowrie, the economic adviser who devised the 9-9-9 plan while employed at a Wells Fargo in Pepper Pike, Ohio. And there's J.D. Gordon, a former Department of Defense flack at Guantánamo Bay, who once accused a female investigative reporter of sexual harassment.
But the most curious Cain staffer is one you've probably never heard of. Jamie Brazil is the vice president of field operations for Cain's campaign. He's also godfather to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's nephew, a onetime consultant to ex-Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, and a political operative who came under FBI scrutiny during a mammoth pay-to-play scandal that roiled Philadelphia's political world.
With the Iowa caucuses fast approaching, Herman Cain is quietly expanding his efforts to reach out the GOP's conservative Christian base.
To spearhead this effort, the Cain campaign has looked beyond the traditional ranks of the Religious Right, to the fringes of American Christianity. Business Insider has learned that the Cain campaign recently tapped Pentecostal pastor Robert Upton, a former Bush administration liaison with strong ties to the Oneness and Christian Zionist movements.
Upton is a very strange pick to lead the Cain campaign's faith outreach — although this is perhaps unsurprising, given the former pizza titan's penchant for finding weird campaign staffers.
“Upton's apocalyptic beliefs and worship style are fairly radical, even among other Pentecostals and fundamentalist Evangelicals…their emphasis on End Times, speaking in tongues, and adhering to strict standards of dress have resulted in a prejudice against Oneness churches in evangelical circles…Cain's communications director JD Gordon confirms that Upton, or ‘Pastor Bob’ as he called him, joined the campaign staff ‘within the past month’ as an outreach coordinator to faith-based communities nationwide.