Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson has temporarily suspended his campaign to spend two weeks selling books.
Republican presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson has put his public campaign events on hold for two more weeks to go on book tour for his new tome “A More Perfect Union” and catch up on fundraising events.
The campaign has been careful to separate campaign events and the book tour, and doesn’t want to classify the tour as related to the campaign in any way.
This week he is catching up on fundraising events and will be back on his book tour next week making stops in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. So for the next two weeks, Carson won’t be appearing at any public “campaign events.”
Carson will be going back and forth between campaign fundraising events and book tour events over the next two weeks. His campaign says he has over 20 campaign fundraising events scheduled over that time period.
The campaign says the next time they will appear publicly with Carson will be the day of the next GOP debate on Oct. 28. His last public campaign event was Oct. 2.
Carson’s campaign staff will not travel with him while on tour, noting that it’s better to stay off the trail for fear of being accused of using campaign assets to sell books.
“It’s a question of co-mingling from the corporate standpoint to the Federal Election Commission standpoint so it’s just better to avoid any bad appearance,” spokesman Doug Watts told ABC News.
They’re being careful with FEC regs, I get it. But Carson and Trump are in a dead heat for the coveted title of “GOP Frontrunner.” Suspending a campaign on the brink of knocking Trump off the thrown seems ill advised.
The national stats from Real Clear Politics:
Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your thoughts here), the campaign suspension, albeit temporary, certainly doesn’t abate criticism suggesting Carson is not running for president to win the White House, but to sell books and elevate his public profile.
But in the year of the outsider, is Carson’s campaign decision outlandishly unconventional?
Josh Kraushaar of National Journal doesn’t think so. He sees Carson’s campaign as one run similar to Carter’s 1976 White House bid.
But the same points could be made of Jimmy Carter’s out-of-nowhere presidential campaign in 1976—one that led to him becoming the 39th president of the United States. And to understand why Carson is performing so well in the Republican primary field despite his abject lack of governing experience, Carter’s presidential bid—and the national environment surrounding his candidacy—is an important start.
It can be presumptuous to compare elections, but the political environment of 1976 is about as close to a recent parallel as you can find to the one shaping today’s volatile campaign. Four decades ago, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, voters lost trust in Washington, and viewed those with political experience skeptically. The crowded Democratic field was filled with senators and congressmen (Mo Udall, Scoop Jackson, and Birch Bayh among them), none of whom connected with the public. Inflation was dragging down the economy, which had been stagnant for years. Terrorism was emerging as a popular tactic internationally. The incumbent party was tainted by scandal, and President Ford was damaged by association after pardoning Richard Nixon—while facing an insurgent challenge from Ronald Reagan. The country was clearly headed down the wrong track, in the minds of voters, and that manifested itself in that year’s election results.
Enter Carter, who was as unconventional of a Democratic candidate as it got back then. He was as much as an outsider within the Democratic party then as Carson is now. He won his lone campaign for governor of Georgia in 1970 by courting conservatives in a racially-charged campaign that attacked his Democratic opponent as an urban liberal. Carter’s presidential campaign showed surprising grassroots strength by focusing his efforts on the then-insignificant Iowa caucuses, finishing ahead of all the other candidates in the race.
…Carson, likewise, is about as unconventional as a Republican presidential candidate as you could come up with. He’s African-American, and grew up in poverty in inner-city Detroit. He was such a successful neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University that Cuba Gooding Jr. starred in a movie about his career. His only experience with politics was when he attacked the president’s health care law to his face at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. He’s one of the best-financed Republican candidates in a crowded field—with over $30 million raised at the end of September—thanks to a widespread grassroots fundraising network.
Barring the ignorant “unconventional African-American Republican” nonsense, it’s hard to argue with Kraushaar on this one. Very little about Carson’s campaign seems to adhere to conventional wisdom.
ABC reports Carson’s absence from the campaign trail hasn’t proved detrimental to his poll numbers.
The lack of public campaign events doesn’t seem to be hurting his visibility or influx of donations. Watts says they have raised $3 million so far this month and have about 15,000 pieces of mail sitting at the post office that average about $50 a donation, which is not included in the monthly total.
The book proceeds are personal, and are not connected to Dr. Carson’s presidential campaign, however the campaign does note they are indirectly making money off the book and views its release during a time when he is polling so high as beneficial.
Touting his recent poll numbers, the campaign says it is not worried Carson isn’t out and about as much.
The only thing clear about the 2016 cycle is that nothing about the 2016 cycle is clear.
UPDATE: Maybe ABC News should’ve checked with Carson’s campaign?
From Jim Geraghty at National Review:
Ying Ma, the deputy communications director for the Ben Carson campaign, tells me that “rumors about Dr. Ben Carson suspending his campaign are all nonsense. We will be holding multiple fundraisers and public/semi-public events between now and the next GOP debate.”
She adds: Nothing about that even remotely indicates a suspension. It is true that Dr. Carson has been appearing in numerous interviews about his new book, but even during these interviews, he’s talking about the campaign and his vision for America. The confusion about the suspension originated from a story written by an ABC reporter who was an embed on our campaign bus. She has not been invited to participate in our fundraisers (which are all closed to the press), and she certainly isn’t accompanying Dr. Carson to his interviews about his new book. Unfortunately, she has interpreted her lack of access to him as a suspension of the campaign. She is very much mistaken.
As of 3:48 this afternoon, ABC was still reporting “Republican presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson has put his public campaign events on hold for two more weeks to go on book tour for his new tome “A More Perfect Union” and catch up on fundraising events.”
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