Ben Carson, Surgeon and Seventh-day Adventist, Quits U.S. Presidential Race
Was first Adventist to run for President of the United States.
Dr. Ben Carson, the renowned pediatric neurosurgeon whose operations to separate twins conjoined at the head catapulted him to international renown, suspended his campaign for the 2016 Republican party U.S. Presidential nomination on March 4. Carson was the first Adventist to run for the post.
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference that day, Carson said he was "leaving the campaign trail," adding, "there's a lot of people who love me, they just won't vote for me."
Carson foreshadowed his plans when he pulled out of a cable television network presidential debate due to be held in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan, on March 3. In a statement, Carson noted the results of the 11-state "Super Tuesday" presidential primary balloting and said, "I do not see a political path forward."
The entry of a prominent Seventh-day Adventist into the race focused attention on the church, which was organized in the United States in 1863. The church's North American Division released a statement saying the movement would not get involved in the campaign. (A U.S. federal statute enacted in 1954 at the behest of then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, D-Texas, prohibited churches and other non-profit organizations from making political endorsements.)
"The Seventh-day Adventist Church values Dr. Carson as we do all members," the 2015 NAD statement said. "However, it is important for the church to maintain its long-standing historical support for the separation of church and state by not endorsing or opposing any candidate."
Carson's roots in Adventism extend back to his Detroit childhood. Raised by a single mother, he was active in Adventist congregations there and claimed he turned to God for help after a childhood fight saw him bend a knife on another person's belt buckle. Horrified at what might have happened, Carson said he embarked on a plan of Bible reading and self-improvement that won him scholarships to Yale University and the University of Michigan School of Medicine.
Although his personal favorability among evangelical Christians and others was high, Carson only won three delegates to the Republican National Convention and had a total of 8 delegates committed to his candidacy. Nominating rules require a candidate to have 1,237 delegates to secure the nomination.