Herman Cain said Tuesday that his campaign only had three staff members working in New Hampshire, calling into question how effectively the candidate will be able to capitalize on his surging poll numbers.

"We have a staff of about three people in New Hampshire, and we're in the process of adding more people in New Hampshire," Cain said on CNN.

Cain also emphasized that he had staff on the ground in other early-voting states, including Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. He told NPR last week that the campaign had hired 10 new full-time staffers on the heels of rising poll numbers — and fundraising intake. 

Part of the explanation for his small New Hampshire operation could be that Cain, like most Republicans, has written off the state as an easy win for front-runner Mitt Romney. The latest Insider Advantage poll shows Romney with a 39 percent to 24 percent lead on Cain; the former Massachusetts governor has never had less than a double-digit lead over his nearest competitor in a poll of the state.

But the size of Cain's staff betrays the fact that although Cain has shot to the top of Republican polls, the fundraising dollars have not entirely followed him there. Cain raised only $2.8 million in the third quarter, far trailing Romney's $14 million and Rick Perry's $17 million.

The campaign says donations have picked up in recent weeks, however, and that there could be more help on the horizon. A group of Tea Party activists launched the "999 Super PAC" during Tuesday night's debate, aimed at providing Cain support through early voting states.

The political action committee will be run by Republican campaign veteran Jordan Gehrke, who has worked on behalf of candidates like Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Senate hopeful Sharron Angle in Nevada. By organizing as a PAC, the group can accept unlimited contributions, including from corporations, although it can not coordinate directly with the candidate.

"Herman Cain has proven that he is a top-tier candidate. Now he needs a top-tier early state operation. We intend to provide reinforcements," Gehrke wrote in an email sent to conservative distribution lists.

Gehrke says that the PAC will distribute yards signs, fund telephone advertisement campaigns and coordinate get-out-the-vote efforts on behalf of the candidate. His email goes on to say that the group will raise enough to hire "experienced operatives to staff Cain in for the early states, operatives who have experience winning."

The email says the PAC is targeted at conservatives who are upset that they've "been told they have to pick Mitt Romney, despite his flip-flops on abortion, immigration, [and] gun control."

"No conservative really LIKES the idea of nominating Romney. But they think we might be stuck with him. Conservatives were told Rick Perry was the 'Tea Party' alternative to Mitt Romney, until we found out he mandated that 12 year-old-girls receive a vaccine for HPV without their parents' permission, opposed building a fence along America's southern border, and supported free college tuition for illegal aliens. Thankfully, we have a real choice this time: Herman Cain," the email goes on to say.