Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has officially ended his campaign for the 2016 election in the United States.
“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,” Carson told the Conservative Political Action Conference gathering in National Harbor, Maryland on Friday.
“I did the math. I looked at the delegate counts … and I realized it simply wasn’t going to happen. And if that’s the case, then I simply didn’t want to interfere with the process,” he explained.
He said that his next move is to chair a group focused on getting out the Christian vote in November.
“It’s not a problem. I will still continue to be heavily involved in trying to save our nation,” he said.
The retired neurosurgeon did not endorse any Republican candidate, but warned the remaining candidates that a prolonged, venomous primary fight risks handing Democrats the White House.
“We cannot afford to give the Democrats all of this ammunition,” Carson said. “I wish that people would remember what happened last time and how the Republicans were destroying each other.”
Notorious for his anti-Islam remarks, Carson briefly led the Republican presidential race but stumbled after months of “staff infighting and strategy shifts,” as put by the Washington Post.
In mid-December 2015, Carson released a policy proposal, calling for a federal investigation into whether the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim advocacy group in the US, has ties to terrorism.
Republican Donald Trump, who has never held elected office, is leading the race and has won the states of South Carolina, Nevada, and New Hampshire, while finishing second in Iowa.