Ben Carson bids adieu to presidential race
‘ I did the math,’ one- time GOP front- runner says
Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who rose from political obscurity to a strong position in early polls last fall, dropped out of the Republican presidential race Friday after a string of disappointing finishes on Super Tuesday.
Carson told the Conservative Political Action Conference that he is “leaving the campaign trail.”
“Even though I might be leaving the campaign trail, you know there’s a lot of people who loveme, they just won’t vote for me,” Carson said, smiling. “But I will still continue to be heavily involved in trying to save our nation.”
Carson said he will serve as national chairman of My Faith Votes, a non- partisan group that is working to dramatically increase voting participation by Christians in the 2016 election and beyond.
Carson’s campaign announcement was hardly a surprise. In a statement Wednesday, he announced he was skipping Thursday night’s Fox News debate and said he saw no “political path forward” after doing poorly on Super Tuesday. His departure leaves four major candidates in the GOP primary race. He did not endorse anyone Friday.
“I did the math,” Carson said as he explained why he dropped out of the race. “I looked at the delegate counts, and I realized it simply wasn’t going to happen.”
Tuesday’s 11 primaries and caucuses brought no glimmers of hope for Carson, whose campaign has struggled mightily after peaking last fall. He finished no higher than fourth place in any state, with his highest level of support coming in Alaska, where he received a paltry 11%. Across a swath of primaries in the South, with its large number of evangelical voters who at one time were key to his success, Carson fared no better than 8% in any state.
In earlier contests, Carson’s fourthplace showing in the Iowa caucuses when the field remained large was his best result. He came in eighth in New Hampshire out of nine candidates, last in South Carolina when the field had winnowed to just six, and fourth out of five in Nevada.
The life story of Carson, an impoverished youth who became a worldrenowned neurosurgeon, helped fuel support in his first political race. At one time, Carson, who road a wave of interest among GOP voters in outsider candidates, passed front- runner Donald Trump in polling in Iowa.
In the long run, however, inexperience, a lack of knowledge about foreign policy and other issues and the departure of key staffers dragged down Carson’s numbers.
“You know, there’s a lot of people who love me, they just won’t vote for me,” Ben Carson told a CPAC audience Friday.