News Center

January 16th, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Ben Carson Hires Rhodes to Run Iowa Campaign; Exploratory Committee to Launch in 2-3 weeks

Ben Carson First Iowa Speech 2014 (262)-L

Dr. Ben Carson has tabbed Iowa political operative Ryan Rhodes to oversee his presidential campaign in our First-in-the-Nation caucus state. Carson is expected to launch an exploratory committee “within the next two or three weeks’, according to national campaign chairman Terry Giles. Carson plans to officially announce his bid for the presidency by May 1.

Giles visited Iowa last week, strategizing with Ryan Rhodes and meeting with prominent conservative activists. Rhodes has been involved in several Iowa campaign efforts, including Dave Funk’s 2010 congressional campaign, Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign and Matt Schultz’ 2014 congressional campaign.

“I talked to a number of people, but I really liked Ryan’s style,” said Carson campaign chair Terry Giles. “First of all, he’s really passionate about Dr. Carson. We are not letting anybody in the inside of our campaign, even the seasoned political pros, unless they are passionate about Dr. Carson and our policy positions.”

The Draft Ben Carson for President Committee is a separate entity from the presidential exploratory committee and eventual campaign. The Draft Carson Committee cannot coordinate or communicate with the campaign, per election laws.

However, the pending Carson campaign has a huge head start on preparing for the Iowa Caucus, thanks to the work of the Draft Carson Committee. They have already established chairs in all 99 Iowa counties, lured State Rep. Rob Taylor and his wife, Dallas County GOP Chair Dr. Christi Taylor, to serve as state co-chairs, and opened an Iowa office.

“I’m very appreciative of what they have done,” Giles told “They have certainly brought Ben’s name to the forefront in a dramatic way. They have tremendous lists of supporters, which we will have access to eventually, and the truth of is I’m very appreciative of everything that they’ve done.”

“It was truly a real grassroots effort to push him to run,” Rhodes added. “I think having that groundwork being laid is very helpful if he decides to run. Having that groundwork already laid and having someone with the personality he has, as well as the experience, and the one-on-one kind of personal appeal that he has, I think there is a real chance for him with the Iowa grassroots.”

Giles said his meetings with Iowa activists reinforced his optimism in the strength of Carson’s impending candidacy.

“It was confirmation that I believe that our campaign strategies for Iowa are sound and I believe that they will resonate very much with the policy positions of Dr. Carson,” he said.

Terry Giles is a successful Texas-based businessman, but has never run a campaign before. Giles and Carson have been close friends for 20 years. They were both recipients of the Horatio Alger Award for overcoming adversity. Giles says most of the national campaign’s upper tier infrastructure is ready to go, except for one position.

Both Giles and Rhodes believe there is a chance for Dr. Carson to emerge to the front in this crowded GOP presidential field.

“It’s really something people are looking for. It’s not politics as usual. There’s a huge niche for him,” Rhodes said.

“If we’re going to turn America around, we need to make major changes. People need to take back their country from the ruling class that has set itself up in Washington, D.C. Certainly on the liberal left. That’s what we intend to do,” Giles added. “We don’t have confidence in any of the other candidates in the race that will make changes fast enough to turn this ship around.”

The Carson campaign chairman added that he respects and admires the other Republican presidential candidates and the Carson campaign will not be going negative toward the GOP field.

“I think we’ll attract a lot of centrist Democrats, but the folks that are way on the left, that think a socialist government is the way we ought to go…we have significant differences with those folks,” Giles added.

Ben Carson returns to Iowa on January 24. He is one of the speakers slated to appear at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines.

Photo courtesy of Dave Davidson,

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

blog comments powered by Disqus