Once again, Herman Cain was in Iowa Monday, brimming with confidence as he pitched his presidential candidacy to voters. “This is where the vetting process really starts,” he told the crowd at a forum hosted by Iowa conservative kingmaker Bob Vander Plaats. “It’s been great.” Iowans have had plenty of chances to vet Cain, whose trip to the Hawkeye State was his 19th in the past year. And while better-known candidates are scuffling in Iowa or planning to skip it altogether, Cain’s courtship of the crucial caucus state’s conservatives is going smoothly. “At the moment, I think he’s one of the front-runners,” says Iowa Tea Party leader Ryan Rhodes. In March, Cain won a presidential straw poll in Des Moines, lapping a field that featured populist firebrands like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.