Ben Carson Formally Suspends Presidential Campaign

"I will still be heavily involved."

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is officially suspending his presidential campaign, he announced during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

Carson all but ended his campaign earlier this week when he released a statement saying he didn't see a "path forward" after a poor showing in the GOP's early nominating contests. Despite the statement, some of Carson's supporters at the annual conference were holding out hope on Thursday that he would stay in the race.

Carson announced that he will serve as the national chair of My Faith Votes, a group that encourages Christians to vote.

"Even though I am leaving the campaign trail... I will still be heavily involved," he said.

The announcement was met with a loud round of applause and shouts from a few disappointed supporters.

"There's a lot of people who love me," he said. "They just won't vote for me, but that's OK."

Carson advised the remaining candidates to be civil. On Thursday, the Republican nominee in the 2012 election, Mitt Romney, gave a speech attacking front-runner Donald Trump, and the candidates who participated in a primary debate taunted each other on stage. 

"They must understand that we, the Republicans, are not each other's enemies, and we cannot afford to give the Democrats all of this ammunition," he said.

Carson said he would prefer if there wasn't a brokered convention, but added, "there's a reason the process is in place."

He did not make an endorsement in the race, but laid out the criteria he would use for making one: He said he would look at a candidate's accomplishments and ethics, how clear their policies are, and how they treat their families.



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