News broke this afternoon that Dr. Ben Carson has oficially ended his bid for the White House. The news comes only days after a dismal showing on Super Tuesday, and the announcement that he would not participate in yesterday's Republican debate. A world-renowned former pediatric neurosurgeon with a large following among conservative Christians, Carson failed throughout his campaign to turn popularity with Evangelicals into votes.
Carson's announcement came during a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that he has ended his bid for the White House.
"Even though I might be leaving the campaign trail, you know, there's a lot of people who love me, they just won't vote for me, but it's OK!" Carson said to a standing ovation. "But I will still continue to be heavily involved in trying to save our nation."
Carson was the only African-American in the crowded Republican field, and the first Seventh-day Adventist to seek the nomination for president. He briefly overtook businessman Donald Trump as the party's frontrunner. Trump called into quesiton Carson's Seventh-day Adventist faith, leading to national media scrutiny of Adventists in North America. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America responded with a media blitz aimed at introducing Adventist teaching to the watching public. The attention was short lived. As Carson stumbled on questions of national security and faced questions over the details of his autobiographical "Gifted Hands," his poll numbers started a steep decline.
During the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses, Carson accused Republican rival Ted Cruz of foul play. Carson finished a disappointing fourth behind Trump, Cruz, and Marco Rubio, and told reporters Cruz's campaign had announced that Carson was out of the race. Rather than stay in Iowa for the traditional voting-night rally, Carson returned to his Florida home, saying it was to get fresh clothing for the campaign trail. Carson placed outside the top-3 in most states that voted after Iowa, making his eventual dropping out all but certain. Even so, Carson remained in the race well after GOP contenders Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie, who finished ahead of Carson in some contests, bowed out of the race.
Throughout his campaign, Carson maintained that he was following God's leading. He told reporters that he read scripture and prayed regularly as a matter of course on the campaign trail, and attributed his run to divine prompting. As recently as the beginning of this week, Dr. Carson's wife Candy stated that the campaign would not end unless God instructed it.
Ahead of Carson's CPAC announcement today My Faith Votes announced that Carson will serve as the Christian non-profit educational group's new national chairman. The group released a statement that read,
Nothing is more important to me than my personal faith, and it is my faith that motivated me to be involved in the political process to begin with," Carson said in a statement. "I believe Christians in this country can easily determine the next president of the United States and all other national and local leaders, should they simply show up at the polls."
In a video for My Faith Votes, Carson indicated his new task will be helping to turn out the Evangelical vote, the same bloc whose support might have bouyed Carson's candidacy.
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
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