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Did Ben Carson Just Drop Out of the Presidential Race?

Ben Carson

Not exactly, but the former neurosurgeon indicated that’s what he plans to do Friday at an annual conference of anti-LGBT groups. 

On the heels of a less than super Tuesday, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson signaled that he's almost ready to quit the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

In a statement posted to his website today announcing that he will not attend Thursday's Fox News GOP Presidential Debate in Detroit, Carson acknowledged that he does "not see a political path forward in light of last evening's Super Tuesday primary results."

Carson did not formally suspend his campaign, though he did say that he will "discuss more about the future of this movement during my speech on Friday at CPAC in Washington, D.C."

That event, the Conservative Political Action Conference, serves as an annual who's who of right-wing, antigay activists and organizations. In addition to Carson, this year's list of scheduled speakers includes noted antigay former presidential hopeful Rick Santorum and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (who fought tooth and nail to keep marriage equality from coming to his state), and there is an entire session dedicated to discussing "religious liberty and marriage in America," featuring universally anti-LGBT panelists from right-wing organizations and outlets.

Carson himself has a long history of anti-LGBT rhetoric, this year alone claiming that transgender people are "abnormal" and that the movement for LGBT equality is "beating people down," and in December arguing that the U.S. military should reinstate its ban on open service by gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans known as "don't ask, don't tell."

Carson, who briefly led the Republican field last fall, has not won any of the primary contests this year, and came in last in most of the 11 states that held nominating contests yesterday. Business mogul Donald Trump, emerged as the decisive Republican victor in the Super Tuesday contests, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio coming in second and third.

Speaking to supporters Tuesday night in Baltimore, Carson lamented the deeply interconnected machinations of the modern political process, saying that becoming familiar with that process has been "a little bit discouraging."

"It is rotten to the core, on both sides -- Democrats and Republicans," Carson said, according to Baltimore TV station WBAL. "And they have weaved such a complex web, it will be very very difficult to untangle it. But I'm not ready to quit trying to untangle it yet."

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