Ben Carson, having failed to gain much support for his presidential run, will now chair a group dedicated to getting Christians to the polls in November.
Carson will chair My Faith Votes, CNN reports. The retired neurosurgeon confirmed the report in an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland this afternoon, where he also announced he is ending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, something he was expected to do for the past several days.
“It took him more than 10 minutes into his meandering speech” at CPAC to say anything about the suspension of his campaign, NPR reports.
“Even though I might be leaving the campaign trail, you know, there’s a lot of people who love me, they just won’t vote for me, but it’s OK!” he told the CPAC crowd, according to NPR. “But I will still continue to be heavily involved in trying to save our nation.”
My Faith Votes announced earlier in the day that Carson was joining the group as chairman. In a video on the My Faith Votes website, Carson says that 25 million evangelical Christians failed to vote in the 2012 presidential election, when the difference in the popular vote (between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney) was 5 million.
“Last time was critical, but this time it’s life and death in terms of America as we know it,” Carson says.
The president of My Faith Votes is Sealy Yates, senior partner in Yates & Yates, a literary agency specializing in Christian authors. Carson is a client of the firm.
Nothing on the group’s site mentions specific issues; it says the organization’s purpose is to “motivate Jesus followers” to cast “an informed vote based on a biblical worldview.” Given Carson’s record, though, the definition of “biblical worldview” undoubtedly means the conservative strain of Christianity and likely includes opposition to LGBT rights, abortion, and a variety of government social programs.
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, came to national prominence when he addressed the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013, decrying progressive taxation, the federal debt, the nation’s supposed moral decline, and President Obama’s health care reform law — with Obama present.
His anti-LGBT stances and statements include opposition to marriage equality — he has claimed the president can ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter; a call for the return of the antigay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for the military; associating homosexuality with polygamy, pedophilia, and bestiality; and characterizing transgender people as “abnormal.”
His presidential campaign gained some traction last fall, with Carson briefly leading polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, but his support quickly fell. He has finished far out of the running in primaries and caucuses so far, and he skipped last night’s debate.