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Ben Carson Says He Can’t Quit The Race For The Republican Nomination

Ben Carson Profile

While Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie have seen the light and ended their quixotic Presidential bids in the wake of disappointing performances in New Hampshire, Ben Carson is saying that he can’t leave the race:

Ben Carson said Wednesday he will be staying in the Republican race, despite a poor showing in New Hampshire, and is hoping to win big in South Carolina.

“I’m not getting any pressure from our millions of supporters (to leave the race). I’m getting a lot of pressure to make sure I stay in the race,” Carson told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.” “You know, they’re reminding me that I’m here because I responded to their imploring me to get involved. And I respect that and I’m not just going to walk away from the millions of people who are supporting me.”

Carson came in second-to-last place Tuesday night, beating only former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore. His decision to stick in the race comes even as two candidates who beat him there, Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie, announced Wednesday they were ending their bids.

But Carson, who at one point attracted strong support from evangelical voters, said he expected to do well in South Carolina.

“I think I can win South Carolina. We’re going to be putting a lot of time resources and effort here,” Carson said.

In reality, of course, there is absolutely nothing keeping Ben Carson from leaving the race for the White House at any moment whatsoever if that’s what he so chooses. The fact that he isn’t doing so, and that he appears to believe that that he has anything resembling a viable path to the nomination, would suggest to some that he is somehow delusional, or that he views his Presidential campaign as a path toward carving out a future career as a public speaker at conservative events or perhaps as a media pundit. The latter is certainly, possible, of course, but the manner in which Carson answered Jake Tapper’s question suggests another possibility. Even before Carson ran for President, it’s long been suspected among many conservative pundits that Carson is surrounded by a group of “advisers” and friends who have been using his fame as a physician and public speaker, and now his Presidential bid, to enrich themselves. It’s also been suggested that Carson feel some sense of personal loyalty to these people for the role they’ve played in getting him to where he is today. While proving such a hypothesis is next to impossible, the fact that Carson’s campaign seems to spend money at a faster rate than anyone else running for President certainly seems to suggest that something like this, which is likely completely legal, could be going on. It would explain why Carson continues even though his campaign is effectively dead.

As for Carson’s suggestion that he can win South Carolina, that contention can be easily dismissed. Prior to the start of the voting season, he was averaging 8.7% in the Palmetto State, which put him at fifth place. When new polling comes out in the coming days, one suspects that his numbers will drop considerably as votes leave him behind in search of a candidate who actually has a chance of winning the nomination. Nationally, Carson isn’t faring much better with a 7.8% average that seems as though it will likely drop precipitously now that the race has winnowed significant to just a handful of serious candidates. It’s probable that these numbers are somehow working to convince Carson that he can stay in the race, and as long as he has supporters who continue to send his campaign money then there really won’t be any reason for him to get out.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    The Force (of delusion) is strong in that one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. J-Dub says:

    What I hear: “I’m not done funneling donations to companies that I secretly own”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. J-Dub says:

    it’s long been suspected among many conservative pundits that Carson is surrounded by a group of “advisers” and friends who have been using his fame as a physician and public speaker, and now his Presidential bid, to enrich themselves

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/ben-carson-fundraising-spending-214928

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. J-Dub says:

    Klingon Jesus would not approve.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  5. CSK says:

    And, according to CBS news, Jim Webb may jump back in again as an Independent candidate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Franklin says:

    I think most of what Doug writes is correct here. That said, Doug would have left Kasich for dead before the NH results. So personally I would wait a couple more primaries before counting anybody out.

    /but then, I’m not the one shelling out millions of dollars to stay in the race

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. Jc says:

    God has not told him to quit yet. Well, at least not directly told him. Likely because God figures the poll numbers are signal enough for most people with a rational mind…which you think a brilliant doctor would have…sigh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. C. Clavin says:

    Willie Dixon:

    Well, I can’t quit you baby
    But I got to put you down a little while
    Well, I can’t quit you baby
    But I got to put you down a little while
    Well, you done made me mess up my happy home

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. C. Clavin says:

    Physicists said Thursday that they have seen direct evidence of gravitational waves, proving correct Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
    Ben Carson, in the meantime, believes Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs, and that he should stay in the race.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  10. Mu says:

    He probably learned that he signed a contract to keep the fund raisers in job until the convention, and there’s a $20,000,000 fine if he quits early.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. Anonne says:

    I drove around South Carolina for work for about 10 days in middle to late January. All I noticed were Cruz signs along the road, and one Trump sticker. There were Rubio and Bush ads on TV, but the ground game of actually reaching people? Advantage Cruz, from my observation. Of course, a lot can change in 3-4 weeks so maybe Trump has upped his ground game.

    But Carson… lol. His extended book tour is going to come to an end soon enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Jc:

    people with a rational mind…which you think a brilliant doctor would have…sigh.

    At the last debate, I wonder if he was waiting for God to tell him to go onstage.

    His candidacy has been fascinating exploration of the human mind. I think much of it is driven by doctors being the best trained monkeys in the world. Critical reasoning doesn’t seem to be something they’re trained for. I saw someone compare doctors to old time high caste Hindus, surrounded by people whose job is to make them look good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. MikeSJ says:

    This could be a case of him just having more fun out on the road, hanging out with his buddies, wining and dining vs. going home and listening the ole ball and chain…

    Sometimes it really is that simple.

    Of course he may still be raking in donations from the true believers so you can’t fault a guy for wanting to make a buck.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. Jim says:

    Not only can’t you pull the plug on clinically dead people, you can’t pull it on politically dead campaigns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. HarvardLaw92 says:

    He still has some books left to sell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. Franklin says:

    @C. Clavin: OK, that was a great dichotomy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  17. Tyrell says:

    Ben Carson : the thinking man’s candidate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. DrDaveT says:

    @Anonne:

    I drove around South Carolina for work for about 10 days in middle to late January.

    I just got back from a brief gig in Utah. My limo drivers were both disgusted with the state of the Presidential race, but not for the same reasons I am. One of them really wished Romney had run again; the other was undecided between Trump and Sanders. (The Romney fan genuinely couldn’t understand how Obama could have been re-elected, given that “3/4 of Americans were totally against him”…)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. Thomas Weaver says:

    Dr Carson has done what several presidents did and that was to surround himself with self-enriching advisors. One that comes to mind is G. W. The candidate or president can’t see the forest for the trees telling him that he is doing well, and so on. That’s the reason for the horrendous GOP losses prior to the end of Bush’s term.
    Carson can’t see the obvious because the “advisors” are standing in the way… That’s why you never choose “Friends” for advisors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0