Ben Car­son bids adieu to pres­i­den­tial race

‘ I did the math,’ one- time GOP front- run­ner says

Chicago Sun-Times - - ELECTIONS 2016 - David Jack­son and Erin Kelly

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.

, AFP/ GETTY IM­AGES

“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.

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