Detroit neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson took a major step toward a candidacy for President today, but how will he play in New Hampshire?
Carson announced the formation of an exploratory committee and set up a web site to draw attention to his potential candidacy. He has been eyeing a run for the better part of a year and has been backed by a draft movement, but an exploratory committee allows him to raise and spend money for his travels as he considers a formal presidential announcement.
Carson is a strong social and fiscal conservative, and a Washington outsider.
In his video announcing his exploratory committee, he says in his trademark soft-spoken way, “The career politicians simply don’t understand the disappointment, anger and pain in real America as they cater to the special interests first.”
Carson could make headway in New Hampshire if he continues his “outsider” approach and if he campaigns in a traditional, retail manner. He begins his effort having done reasonably well in recent polling.
He was tied for fifth place in a February NBC/Marist poll, with 7 percent, ahead of such names as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry. A poll completed for NH1 television in early February had Carson in a tie for third place with Rand Paul, at 8.2 percent, trailing only Scott Walker and Jeb Bush.
And another early February poll, by Purple Strategies for Bloomberg Politics, had Carson tied for fifth place at 6 percent.
Carson will make his first visit to the state since today’s announcement on April 6, when he is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council’s Conference on Access to Affordable Health Care. The venue for the event has yet to be announced.
What’s the early outloook for a Carson candidacy in the first-primary state?
Veteran Republican strategist Tom Rath says the makings of a strong candidacy are there because of his message and style, but much more is required.
Rath said Carson “has the ability to move audiences. But whether that translates into winning elections remains to be seen.
“The polling numbers are a bit deceiving at this point in a campaign,” he said. “There is a big difference between giving a compelling speech and creating and operating a functional political organization. Being a candidate is a lot harder than it looks from the outside. It is too early to tell how Carson will do if he actually gets in.”
View Carson’s video announcing his exploratory committee below: