Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who at one point polled ahead of other GOP presidential contenders, is quitting the race.
Announcing he will not be attending Thursday’s Republican debate in Detroit, Michigan, Carson said his political activism will continue, but that he would be suspending his presidential campaign.
“I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results,” Carson said in a statement, adding that he intends to say more about his future ambitions at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington, DC on Friday.
Carson managed to pick up a total of eight delegates over the course of the campaign, including three in Virginia. By contrast, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has 258 delegates.
Between the beginning of 2015 and Super Tuesday, Carson spent 15 cents per vote on TV advertising in the states involved, according to according to data compiled by CMAG/Kantar Media. Carson spent $75,000 on TV advertising and received 489,588 votes among the 12 states.
The announcement comes after Carson’s repeated refusals to quit the race, despite the lackluster showing in the caucuses and primaries.
“I decided to stay in the race because we have millions of social media followers, and they’re saying please do not take the choice away from us, and they continue to support me — financially and in every other way — and I think they have a right to be heard,” Carson said Monday on Fox News.
Asked what the Carson strategy for winning was, campaign chairman Bob Dees admitted there didn’t seem to be one.
“Well, we clearly don’t know,” Carson campaign chairman Bob Dees told the Washington Examiner. “But we think the opportunity exists for people to wake up and that’s what we’re hoping.”
During a victory speech after Super Tuesday wins in Texas and Oklahoma, GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz called on his competitors who can’t win the nomination to “prayerfully” drop out and provide a unified front against Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
“For the candidates who have not yet won a state, who have not racked up significant delegates, I ask you to prayerfully consider uniting,” Cruz said, after congratulating Trump on his victories. “For those who have supported other candidates, we welcome you on our team standing as one.”
Like Carson, Ohio Governor John Kasich has yet to win a primary or caucus. He placed second in the three New England states who have voted so far.