It has been a tough four weeks for Cain, who has been dogged by allegations of an extramarital affair as well as multiple claims of sexual harassment. Sharon Bialek of Glenview was one of the women who came forward, claiming Cain groped her when he was the head of the National Restaurant Association
"I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family," Cain told supporters. "My wife, my family and I, we know that the false and unproved allegations are not true."
Cain's announcement comes as a new poll in Iowa shows Newt Gingrich leading the pack of GOP candidates.
Some say Cain's departure could benefit Gingrich the most.
"My guess is he would because he's the frontrunner," said Paul Green, a political science professor at Roosevelt University. "But (Gingrich) is going to face all kinds of scrutiny, so it's wide open."
On Saturday, reaction to Cain dropping out of the race was mixed at a town hall meeting with northwest suburban Congressman Joe Walsh.
"You may have loved Herman Cain," Walsh said. "I don't know who the Republican nominee is going to be."
St. Charles resident Jim Prescott was disheartened by the allegations that caused Cain to fall from the top of the polls.
"He just kept backpedaling the whole time," Prescott said. "He kept saying first off there's nothing about it. And then more stuff kept coming out. It was a constant drip, drip, drip."
Naperville resident Robert Bivin was dismissive of the allegations that dogged Cain.
"My personal belief at this point and time is they're just spurious allegations," Bivin said. "I think they're there to sabotage his campaign."
Bialek, the first of Cain's accusers to go public with her claims, would not comment Saturday but said she and her attorney are planning to speak on Monday.