Carson May Be Down, but He Doesn’t Think He’s Out
Policy + Politics

Carson May Be Down, but He Doesn’t Think He’s Out

© Carlos Barria / Reuters

There are only six weeks to go before the Iowa caucus, but it’s longer than that since retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson peaked in the Republican presidential primary. After briefly pulling ahead of Donald Trump in national polling averages, Carson has been on a downward slope ever since. Now, according to an exclusive interview given to the Associated Press, he says he’s ready to make some changes.

Carson, according to a story posted by the AP on Wednesday afternoon, welcomed reporters Julie Bykowicz and Bill Barrow into his home Wednesday, without the knowledge of his own campaign manager, and told them that he was in the midst of considering personnel changes.

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“Everything is on the table,” he told them. “Every single thing is on the table. I'm looking carefully.”

At one point, Carson, soft-spoken, religious, and new to politics, appeared to be emerging as a serious threat to the bellicose and profane Trump in the fall. His likability scores and approval ratings have consistently been much higher than the former reality television star’s, and his religious faith appeared to give him an edge in key early voting states with a large percentage of evangelical Christian voters.

In the Real Clear Politics polling average, Carson ever-so-briefly pulled ahead of Trump in November, by a 24.8 percent to 24.6 percent margin. However, that looks as though it may have been the high-water mark of the celebrated neurosurgeon’s presidential run.

Trump went on the attack against Carson, and in the presidential debates that have taken place in the interim, the doctor failed to distinguish himself. Since then, he has fallen from first place in the polls to fourth. His 10 percent support leaves him behind not only Trump, who averages 35.1 percent, but Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (18.1) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (11.5).

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Carson told the AP on Wednesday that he is also examining how his campaign has spent the tens of millions of dollars he has raised from supporters, and is reassessing how he talks about the national security threats.

Following the interview, the AP reporters contacted Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett, who would not comment, saying he had not discussed the reorganization with his client.