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October 31st, 2013

Draft Ben Carson Movement Setting Up Shop in Iowa

Dr. Ben Carson exploded onto the political scene earlier this year when he delivered a rousing speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. Standing just feet away from President Obama, the prominent neurosurgeon gave a very non-politically correct speech and showed his values are not in line with the current president’s.

Carson railed against the moral decay of our nation and massive overspending by our government. He compared the U.S. to ancient Rome and warned that history could repeat itself if America continues on its current path. He also blistered the “PC police”.

“PC is dangerous,” Carson said. “In this country, one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression. (Political correctness) puts a muzzle on people. We have imposed upon people restrictions on what they can say, on what they can think. And the media is the largest proponent of this, crucifying people who say things really quite innocently.”

Conservatives immediately praised Carson’s 27-minute lecture. Liberals immediately cried foul. And the effort to draft Dr. Carson to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016 was born.

Enter Vernon Robinson. He’s the former chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, a three-time failed congressional candidate and a hardcore conservative. Robinson is now the campaign director for the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee.

“I believe Dr. Ben Carson is the only candidate in the GOP mix who can beat Hillary Clinton, dismember the progressive left and heal the nation,” Robinson told

Robinson has been busy. He says the committee has already raised $550,000, they have more than 70,000 likes on Facebook, and they are trying to obtain at least one million signatures on a petition at to convince Dr. Carson to run for president.

Robinson knows the early states like Iowa are crucial for any potential presidential campaign, so he visited the First-in-the-Nation caucus state last week. The Draft Ben Carson committee purchased a booth and dinner table for the Iowa GOP’s Reagan Dinner. The booth, manned by four Iowa volunteers, garnered a steady stream of activity before and after the dinner.

The Draft Carson committee also conducted robocalls to the homes of Iowa caucus goers last week, trying to gauge potential support for Dr. Carson. Robinson said Texas Senator Ted Cruz was the clear favorite, but Carson finished a surprising second.

That result mirrors the straw poll held at the Values Voters Summit a few weeks ago. Carson tied 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum for second place. Vernon Robinson hopes to channel that enthusiasm into a fully functioning campaign apparatus.

“He cannot run without an organizational base and a fundraising operation, so we’re doing both,” Robinson said. “We’re trying to raise $7 million between now and December 2014, and build a detailed grassroots organization in the early states and a cadre in the later states. Then he has a credible option to choose whether or not to run. We think that’s vital and we’re setting about doing it.”

Since the famous speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, Dr. Carson has remained in the spotlight. He has delivered speeches around the country and recently became a Fox News contributor.

Carson has also continued to thumb his nose as the PC crowd. During his speech at the Values Voters Summit, he claimed Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this country since slavery”. He has not backed down from that statement after an immediate backlash.

Ben Carson’s backstory is remarkable. Growing up in a poor, single parent home in Detroit, he eventually became one of the world’s foremost neurosurgeons. In 1987, he became the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins. President Bush awarded Dr. Carson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2008. A TV movie was made about Ben Carson, with Cuba Gooding, Jr. portraying the doctor. Carson retired as a surgeon earlier this year.

“He said that if the American people are still clamoring for him to run, 14 months from now or two years from now, that he would seriously consider it because he wouldn’t turn his back on the American people,” Robinson said.

It is obvious there is a lot of interest in Ben Carson. During a recent roundtable discussion with Iowa Republican activists, the group was near unanimous in praising the famous doctor. It remains to be seen if Carson is just the latest conservative shining star, or if the nationally renowned brain surgeon with no political experience could actually become a legitimate presidential contender.

If he does run, it appears Dr. Carson he will have a campaign structure already in place. The Draft Carson movement is looking to hire at least one political staffer in Iowa and they hope to begin organizing in the state very soon. 26 months before the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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