Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, a pro-life doctor, is essentially exiting the GOP campaign for president — saying he will not participate in Thursday night’s presidential debate and admitting that there is “no path forward” to the nomination. Still, Caron will not formally suspend his campaign, instead waiting to first give a speech at a conservative conference on Friday.
After poor showings in the most recent primary and caucus states, pro-life voters have wondered when Carson would exit the campaign. Those pro-life voters who support pro-life candidates Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio over Donald Trump have specifically said they think Carson is drawing votes from the two senators and making it easier for Trump to gain the nomination.
However, some political observers say the contingent of Republicans who have supported Carson may back Trump because they view Carson as a political outsider in the same vein.
UPDATE: Longtime advisor Armstrong Williams confirmed to the Washington Examiner that Carson will officially suspend his campaign Friday in a speech to CPAC.
Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who briefly led the Republican presidential race before his campaign began an extended public implosion, will tell his supporters in a statement Wednesday afternoon that he does not see a “path forward” and will not attend Thursday’s debate in Detroit, according to two Republicans familiar with his plans.
Carson, however, will not formally suspend his campaign. Instead, the Republicans said, he has decided to make a speech about his political future on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, just outside of Washington.
But the announcement will serve as an acknowledgment that Carson’s candidacy is all but over following a disappointing showing in the 11 states that held contests on Tuesday.
The decision follows months of candidate stumbles, staff infighting and strategy shifts derailing what had once appeared to be an unstoppable journey to conservative super¬stardom. It also marks the coming departure of the only major the only major African American candidate in the 2016 presidential race.
In February, Carson said he is possibly interested in becoming Donald Trump’s running mate should the businessman secure the GOP nomination.
“I certainly would sit down and discuss it with him,” he told Fox Business host Neil Cavuto today. But he added that he would only take the running mate spot if he determined that he and Trump share a “philosophical alignment.”
“I would have to have major philosophical alignment with whoever it was,” he said. “I would have to have guarantees that I could do some substantial things.”
During the interview Carson would not say if thee are any candidates he would decline to run with as the vice presidential nominee.