No surprise here from the beginning.
Ben Carson, the only Republican to have once threatened the lead of Donald J. Trump in national polls, said on Wednesday he saw no path forward and would skip a debate on Thursday in his hometown of Detroit, signaling an end to his candidacy after paltry performances in the nominating contests.
Stopping short of suspending his campaign, Mr. Carson said he would provide more details in a speech on Friday, but after his dismal showing in the Super Tuesday states, his campaign is effectively over.
A retired pediatric brain surgeon of world renown, Mr. Carson long held Republicans’ favor with an uplifting biography and a quiet manner that belied his strafing critiques of President Obama and liberalism, which delighted grass-roots conservatives.
In the end, Mr. Carson withered under mocking insults hurled at him by Mr. Trump, especially in Iowa, and he suffered from voters’ desire for a candidate projecting strength at a time of anxiety over terrorism.
“Dr. Carson’s favorability ratings have never changed,” Armstrong Williams, a close adviser, said just before the Iowa caucuses last month, when Mr. Carson finished a disappointing fourth. “But after Paris and San Bernardino, his supporters made a different decision. They wanted a war president. Dr. Carson did not have the rhetoric or the competitiveness on the debate stage to say the explosive things, to say, ‘Let’s keep all the Muslims out.”’
Even in a year of fierce anti-establishment leanings, Mr. Carson’s months-long popularity, coupled with the prodigious support of small donors — his $20 million collected last summer led all other candidates – stunned political professionals.
Born into poverty and raised by a single mother with a third-grade education, Mr. Carson remade himself from a wayward teenager into a scholar, winning admission to Yale and medical school. By 33, he was the chief of a major department at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He burst on the political scene in 2013 when he criticized President Obama’s health care plan at the National Prayer Breakfast, a video watched over and over by delighted conservatives.
After his disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Carson never seemed to regain his political footing. In the round of Super Tuesday contests Tuesday, his hopes for a strong performance in the South faltered, as he ran a distant fourth or fifth in every state.
“I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results,” Mr. Carson said in a statement. “However, this grassroots movement on behalf of ‘We the People’ will continue.”
“I appreciate the support, financial and otherwise, from all corners of America,” Mr. Carson said. “Gratefully, my campaign decisions are not constrained by finances; rather by what is in the best interests of the American people.”