Report: Ben Carson to run for president – USA TODAY

Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who became a leading conservative voice, told a Florida TV station that he will officially join the 2016 Republican presidential race tomorrow.

Carson shared his decision with WPEC-TV, the CBS affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla., in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

“I’m willing to be part of the equation and, therefore, I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States of America,” Carson said.

Carson, 63, will formally jump into the race at an event in Detroit, where he grew up.

His presidential campaign will mark Carson’s first run for office, though he’s been a Tea Party hero since 2013 following his blistering attack of Obamacare at the National Prayer Breakfast in front of President Obama.

While he enters the race as a long shot to capture the GOP nomination, he currently polls ahead of several more established Republican contenders in Iowa, site of the first caucus, including former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, the winner there in 2012.

Carson’s short time on the national political stage, though, could prove difficult for his campaign as scrutiny. For instance, in March he apologized following a CNN interview in which, when asked whether being gay was a choice, he responded “absolutely” and suggested that inmates who emerge from prison as homosexual was proof.

While the imprint he’ll leave on the 2016 race remains to be seen, his legacy in medicine is undeniable. After growing up in poverty in Detroit, he went on to graduate from Yale and the University of Michigan’s Medical School. He later became director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore at age 33, the youngest physician to helm a major division there.

In 1987 he became the first surgeon to perform a successful operation to separate twins conjoined at the head. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2008 by President George W. Bush. The next year, he was portrayed in a TV movie about his life by Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr.

In his speeches, Carson rails against the dangers posed by big government. Opening this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, he said debt and radical Islam were poised to “destroy” the nation.

At the 2013 Values Voter Summit, he said Obamacare was “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

His fiery rhetoric could appeal to the most conservative primary voters, some of whom may be wary of more establishment-aligned potential candidates, such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But garnering support from a wider swath of GOP voters as a novice to electoral politics could prove challenging.

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