Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson took the one step absolutely necessary before he can contend for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination; he became a Republican.
Carson, registered as an independent until Tuesday, officially changed party affiliation in Palm Beach County, Fla., on election day, The Washington Times reported.
Momentum is on Carson’s side for a White House run, and he’s expected to make it official any day now. It was recently announced that he topped likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in donations last quarter, bagging $3.3 million to her $2 million.
Bloomberg News reported that Carson has launched his own political action committee to support his campaign — the USA First PAC — and has named Houston businessman Terry Giles as his campaign chairman.
“It’s truly a pragmatic move because I have to run in one party or another,” Carson told the Times on changing his party affiliation. “If you run as an independent, you only risk splitting the electorate. I clearly would not be welcome in the Democratic Party, and so that only leaves one party.
“Fortunately, the fit is pretty good,” he added. “I believe in reasonable sized government. I believe in personal responsibility. I believe in individual freedom. And I believe in creating an environment to let free markets grow our economy. And all of that is very consistent with being a Republican.”
Carson started out a Democrat before becoming a Republican during the Reagan administration, only to switch to an Independent during the Clinton years.
“Like most Democrats who were black, I was told most Republicans were evil, racist people,” he said. “But then I started listening to Ronald Reagan and I thought, ‘God it just makes so much sense. Let me investigate this.’”
He became an Independent because of what he considered hypocrisy within the GOP as it pursued impeachment of Clinton, the Times reported.
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