ABOVE PHOTO: Ben Carson (Shutterstock)
By Bill Barrow
WASHINGTON — Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said he is effectively ending his bid for the White House Wednesday, concluding a roller-coaster campaign that briefly took him to the top of a chaotic GOP field but ended with a Super Tuesday whimper.
“I do not see a political path forward,” Carson said in a statement posted on his campaign website, though he added, “I remain deeply committed to my home nation, America” and offered details of his future when he spoke at a conservative conference in Washington last Friday.
“There’s only one candidate in this 2016 election on the GOP side, and his name is Trump. That’s the reality,” said Armstrong Williams, his longtime friend, adding that Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz also should drop out, as they “also have no path” to the nomination.
Carson’s exit reduces the active Republican field to four candidates, though billionaire Donald Trump remains the clear leader in earned delegates and voter preference polls.
Carson, 64, was one of several anti-establishment candidates who shaped the early stages of a Republican race defined by conservatives’ wide-ranging disgust with the nation’s direction and GOP leaders’ perceived inability to alter it.
He ran as an outsider, offering a poverty-to-fame autobiography, his unabashed Christian faith and an unceasing indictment of conventional politics, styling his bid as an effort to combat “political correctness” and what he described as a creep toward “socialism.”