WASHINGTON — Retired physician Ben Carson told Sinclair Broadcasting on Sunday night that he plans to announce his candidacy for president of the United States, but his campaign said Monday he’ll reschedule a planned trip to Iowa to say goodbye to his ailing mother.
“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 told Jeff Barnd.
He is expected to make the official announcement Monday morning at the Detroit Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts. He had plans to travel to Iowa immediately after the announcement, but campaign spokeswoman Deana Bass said Monday that trip would be rescheduled to allow Carson to fly to Dallas to be with his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
“After his announcement in Detroit, Dr. Carson will travel to Dallas to be at his mother Sonya Carson’s side. Dr. Carson’s mother who has been in failing health is now critically ill,” she said in a statement.
The Washington Post, which first reported the news, recounted a tearful Sunday night of preparation and prayer in advance of his Monday morning announcement.
Carson, 63, will become the fourth candidate to formally seek the Republican nomination in the 2016 race. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have also announced their candidacies amid a widening field.
The retired neurosurgeon is a political newcomer but a favorite among conservatives for his outspoken criticism of Obamacare.
Carson has been traveling the nation over the past six months, giving paid speeches and meeting with supporters to gauge interest in a bid. He recently traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire, and he spoke last month at the National Rifle Association’s meeting in Tennessee.
Carson’s relative political inexperience, however, hasn’t turned him away from the campaign. He’ll look to make it an asset, framing himself as a common-sense alternative to the broken policies of Washington politicians.
And recent polls indicate it’s too early to count him out. In the Real Clear Politics average of polls last month, Carson surveyed right in the middle of the potential GOP field, ahead of more seasoned or better-known GOP contenders such as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and he took fifth place with 9% support in the last CNN/ORC survey, conducted in March.
Still, that’s a marked decline from late February, when he was polling in the top three of the pack, indicating he still has some work to do in proving his credibility with voters.