As expected, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has jumped into the race for president, telling a Florida TV station Sunday night that he’s definitely seeking the GOP nomination to top the ticket in 2016. As USA Today reports, even though Carson let the cat out of the campaign bag last night, his official announcement was made Monday morning in Detroit, the city where he was born in 1951 and also where a high school bears his name.
USA Today also notes that right after his Detroit speech, Carson was scheduled to travel to Iowa “for three days of events in the pivotal state where the first presidential caucus of the 2016 election cycle will be held Feb. 1.” However, his mother is critically ill in Dallas, so the just-announced candidate will instead fly to Texas to be with her.
CNN quotes a Carson campaign spokeswoman explaining the abrupt change of plans: “‘After his announcement in Detroit, Dr. Carson will travel to Dallas to be at his mother Sonya Carson’s side. Dr. Carson’s mother who has been in failing health is now critically ill,’ she said in a statement.”
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An article in The Washington Post details how the news of Carson’s mother’s critical illness — he told staff that, “I got some news today that she is dying” — played a big part in his deciding how to make known the reasons behind his decision to run for president.
He was less than 24 hours from announcing that he would seeking [sic] the Republican nomination for president, and he was about to find out that his mother, who has had Alzheimer’s disease since 2011, probably would die within days.
“I had been struggling with what to write,” said Carson, who had not yet written his announcement speech. “But after my initial cry, my mind became very clear and I knew immediately what I wanted to talk about.”
The Washington Post report notes that Ben Carson’s mother, Sonya, had a big influence in the life of a “screw-up kid with a temper” who later went on to become a world famous neurosurgeon and ultimately an outspoken, conservative critic of many of President Obama’s policies, especially ObamaCare.
“Sonya had 24 siblings and was married at age 13. When she found out that her husband, Ben’s father, had a second family, they divorced. Unable to read, Sonya encouraged her kids to stop watching television and read two books per week.”