Ben Carson, Conservative Neurosurgeon, Running for President

Ben Carson

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson told a Florida television station on Sunday that he is running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

“I’m willing to be part of the equation and, therefore, I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States of America,” Carson said in an interview with CBS affiliate WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Carson, 63, who is popular with the conservative Tea Party movement, created an exploratory committee in March, which allowed him to begin raising money for a formal White House bid. He is expected to formally declare his candidacy at an event in Detroit on Monday.

Carson, who has never run for public office, is expected to be the only high-profile African-American to enter the GOP’s presidential primary as he tries to parlay his success as an author and speaker into a competitive campaign against established politicians. The field is likely to be large, and the first GOP primary debate is set for August.

“I see myself as a member of `we the people,”‘ he told the Associated Press in an interview earlier this year, arguing that his lack of experience is an asset.

“I see myself as a logical American who has common sense,” he continued, “and I think that’s going to resonate with a lot of Americans, regardless of their political party.”

Carson grew up in Detroit and eventually became the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center. His career inspired the 2009 movie, “Gifted Hands,” with actor Cuba Gooding Jr. depicting Carson.

Carson developed a conservative following in 2013 after he advocated a flat tax, private medical savings accounts and other conservative policies at a National Prayer Breakfast, where he offered a withering critique of the modern welfare state and the nation’s overall direction.

The speech restated themes from Carson’s 2012 book “America the Beautiful,” but he excited conservatives by doing so with President Barack Obama sitting just feet away.

Carson has since become a forceful critic of the nation’s first black president on everything from health care to foreign policy. Carson also offers himself as a counter to other notable African-American commentators with more liberal views.

Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky have already entered the Republican presidential race.

Former Hewlett Packard Co Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina is expected to declare her candidacy in an online announcement on Monday. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will make an announcement on Tuesday about his plans. He also ran for the nomination in 2008.

Other potential Republican candidates include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Among Democrats, former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considered the front-runner for the party’s presidential nomination. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont entered the Democratic race last week.

Reprinted with permission from Al Jazeera

 

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