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Carson Ends White House Bid

Ben Carson officially ended his presidential campaign on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

“Even though I might be leaving the campaign trail, there are a lot of people who love me, they just won’t vote for me for me,” he said.

“I’ll be involved in a lot of different things including My Faith Votes, an organization that is going to try to help the faith community recognize how important their vote is.”

The Hill reports:

While Carson’s statement was not explicit, he did not correct Fox News contributor Mercedes Schlapp during a question-and-answer period when she said that he dropped out. And he explained his rationale.

“I did the math. I looked at the delegate count, looked at the states, looked at the requirements,” he said.

“I realized it simply wasn’t going to happen, and if that’s the case, I didn’t want to interfere with the process.”

Ed Brookover, Carson’s campaign manager, told The Hill in a statement that Carson is “leaving the campaign trail” and that “[we] do not plan to return.”

Carson secured a total of eight delegates through the nomination process. Five of those will be reallocated to other delegates, as per state laws in Iowa and Nevada, while his three Virginia delegates will still be bound to vote for him on the Republican National Convention’s first ballot in July.

The former neurosurgeon appeared at ease during his 20-minute speech Friday, using it to defend his laid-back style as a candidate.

“A lot of people said to me that in order to make it in this cycle, you have to be loud and boisterous and willing to attack people,” he said, noting that he had been that way as a young man.

“The people who are running today, boy I could tell you, I could come up with some stuff. But I left that stuff in high school. The things that affect us now are so incredibly important.”

He didn’t make an endorsement, though he laid out his criteria for one. The next president, he said, should be successful, have clear policies and have sterling ethics.

That means it’s unlikely he’d endorse Ted Cruz, after the two clashed over the Cruz campaign’s decision in Iowa to tell Carson supporters about news reports that suggested he had dropped out.

Carson jumped into the 2016 race as the one of the most prolific fundraisers on the Republican side, amassing tens of millions of dollars through grassroots support.

He briefly eclipsed front-runner Donald Trump at the polls in November but soon came crashing back down after a series of foreign policy missteps. Around that time, his fundraising numbers fell off as well, with his late reports showing a campaign spending more than it was taking in.

Photo credit: Raw Story.

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