Ben Carson Leaves Campaign Trail to Mobilize Christians to Vote

ben carson
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson arrives to speak at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland March 4, 2016. |

Former neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson confirmed that his presidential campaign was ending, but that he was going to channel his time and energy to mobilize Christians to vote.

At a speech delivered Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Carson stunned the audience when he stated during his remarks that he was "leaving the campaign trail."

"Now that I am leaving the campaign trail," said Carson, before his sentence was interrupted by a long audience reaction that included expressions of sorrow and an applause with shouts of respect.

Carson noted that he was going to be heading a group called My Faith Votes, whose mission is to get the faith communities of America more involved in the presidential election.

Chairman of the National Republican Committee Reince Priebus (L), speaks with conservative political commentator Sean Hannity at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, March 4, 2016. |

"We're in the process of allowing the secular progressives to drive faith out of our country," cautioned Carson.

Carson argued that the faith vote needs to be mobilized because, as seen with the 2012 presidential election, not getting involved can have a major impact on the results.

"In 2012, 25 million evangelicals did not vote. The margin of difference [between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney] was only five million," continued Carson.

"We have to get these people registered and we have to get them to understand that they have to play a role because a lot of people in the faith community they say 'God's got it under control so I just don't really need to do anything.' Well one of the ways that God controls it is through us."

Carson's comments came as part of the annual multiday CPAC event, which was hosted by the American Conservative Union at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

In addition to Carson, other former and current Republican presidential hopefuls who spoke on the main stage included U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, former Senator Rick Santorum, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

Announcing his candidacy last year in his home town of Detroit, Michigan, Carson's campaign stirred some interest but was ultimately overshadowed by other candidates including current frontrunner Donald Trump.

Known to be soft spoken and often silent during the Republican primary debates, Carson also garnered controversy for statements like claiming Muslims should not be allowed to run for president and that prison rape proved people can change sexual orientation.

Carson's remarks at CPAC came days after Super Tuesday, in which the accomplished neurosurgeon failed to win a single state of the twelve that were up for grabs.

Immediately following the results from Tuesday, Carson sent out a statement saying that he was not going to attend the GOP debate in Detroit, heavily implying that he was dropping out of the race.

"I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening's Super Tuesday primary results," read the statement from the Carson campaign.

"However, this grassroots movement on behalf of 'We the People' will continue. Along with millions of patriots who have supported my campaign for President, I remain committed to Saving America for Future Generations."

According to the My Faith Votes' website, the effort to mobilize Christians to vote will be a "relevant" and "non-partisan" endeavor.

"Christians in the U.S. can and should make their voice heard for the stability of our country and security of our freedoms," read the "About Us" section of the website.

"The best way to make a difference is to ensure we dramatically enhance voter participation amongst Christians. If we don't speak up, we can't expect to be heard."

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