Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who made political waves in 2013 with a pointed critique of President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, is taking a step closer to a presidential campaign of his own. Carson announced Tuesday he is launching an exploratory committee for a run in 2016. The 63-year-old conservative Republican from Maryland has a website dedicated to the committee at bencarson.com.
Candidates like Carson from the outskirts of electoral politics, who’ve never before run for office, are routinely dismissed as dreamers. They’re bucking history. They’re bound to wash out after the first caucus and primary, if not earlier. And in choosing Terry Giles, a Houston businessman with no political experience, as his campaign chairman, Carson only added to skepticism about his candidacy.
But Carson, 63, is no Herman Cain, the Georgia businessman who ran for the GOP nomination in 2012. Cain flew solo, without a campaign organization. His candidacy went nowhere. Carson is different. He has substantial name identification. He can raise money. His poverty-to-prominence story is compelling. He has a grassroots following. He is fluent on national issues.
Michael Warren is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard. He is 2012 Robert Novak journalism fellow, and he has written for the Washington Times, National Review Online, City Journal, and the Washington Examiner. He has also appeared on CNN and C-SPAN.