Republicans could have pick of unconventional White House candidates

Republicans could have their most diverse field of presidential candidates to choose from next year.

Herman Cain, a prominent African-American businessman, has formed a presidential exploratory committee and is considering launching a bid for the GOP nod.

Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, isn't a household name like some of the other possible contenders, but he's not intimidated by the competition.

"People who say that Herman Cain has no chance of winning the nomination for the Republican Party or win the in presidency — I simply say, 'Thank you,'" he told CNN. "Because all my life I have been in situations where I wasn't supposed to become VP of Pillsbury, I wasn't supposed to be able to turn Godfather's Pizza around. I wasn't supposed to succeed in climbing the corporate ladder in corporate America. So to the people who say I don't have a chance I say, 'Thank you.' Because that inspires me."

Cain has been considering a bid for a few months.

"I would represent that unconventional, non-establishment candidate that a lot of people are looking for," Cain, a conservative black Republican, told The Ballot Box last month.

The conservative talk-radio host is a bonafide Tea Party rock star who's a regular at their events and serves as a commentator on Fox News. He’s also visited the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In addition to Cain, the 2012 GOP presidential field might include former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a staunch advocate for legalizing marijuana, and Fred Karger, an openly gay retired political consultant from California.

(h/t GOP 12)

-- Shane D'Aprile contributed to this post.