Buying of the President

Published — May 4, 2015 Updated — March 7, 2016 at 4:25 pm ET

9 things to know about Ben Carson


Update, March 4, 2016: Ben Carson has decided to end his 2016 presidential bid.

The doctor is in the race.

Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson today plans to announce he’s officially running for his first political office — president.

Carson, the first neurosurgeon to successfully separate Siamese twins conjoined at the head, became a conservative star in 2013 after delivering a fiery speech at the National Prayer Breakfast against President Barack Obama’s health reform overhaul. Carson formed a presidential exploratory committee in March, but by then, supporters had already contributed millions of dollars to super PACs created to back his prospective bid.

Here’s more on Carson’s political and financial history as he enters the increasingly crowded Republican presidential field:

  • The Carson America Exploratory Committee raised nearly $2.2 million during March and April, with 70 percent of the money coming from donors who gave $200 or less.
  • Ben Carson kick started his presidential exploratory committee by personally loaning it $25,000.
  • The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee — a super PAC — has raised $13.5 million since August 2013, but has spent almost all of it.
  • The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee is led by John Philip Sousa IV, the composer’s great-grandson.
  • Some directors and consultants tied to the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee have pulled in six-figure salaries and fees, BuzzFeed reported.
  • Founders of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee formed a second super PAC that they said would kick in once Carson officially declares. So far, it’s reported no activity.
  • In February, Ben Carson hired Amy Pass, a former Newt Gingrich fundraiser, as his national finance director — an early tip-off to his presidential plans.
  • Ben Carson finished fourth in this year’s CPAC straw poll, ahead of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
  • In 2013, when Fox News host Sean Hannity asked Ben Carson about a 2016 presidential run, Carson said that “if the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made me do it” he would.

Image sources: AP

Sources: Center for Public Integrity reporting, Federal Election Commission

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