PLANO, Texas – Two super PACs supporting Dr. Ben Carson’s 2016 presidential bid plan to team up within the next few weeks, sources from both organizations told MSNBC in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
The move will unite the massive grassroots army that helped draft Carson to run for office – The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, which is now known as the 2016 Committee or Run, Ben, Run – and Our Children’s Future, a PAC founded by a former aide of the candidate that seems to have the unofficial blessing of the campaign. Although it’s illegal for a presidential campaign to coordinate with a super PAC there are no rules preventing the side groups from teaming up with each other.
“Instead of being two small groups we’re now really a massive army with the sole purpose of getting Dr. Carson elected president,” founder of the Run, Ben, Run PAC John Philip Sousa IV told MSNBC on Tuesday.
Our Children’s Future’s Chairman Jeff Reeter said his PAC would “partner with, strongly collaborate with, merge with Run Ben Run,” but said that it hasn’t happened yet and the details aren’t 100% confirmed. He added that he expects it would occur “sooner, rather than later” because of this report.
Teaming up could bring the campaign’s unofficial blessing to Run Ben Run, a group that was previously disavowed by the Carson campaign as a rogue group. On Tuesday, Carson Communications Director Doug Watts said “they were not opposed to” Our Children’s Future, while Run, Ben, Run was “as independent as they get.”
The coordination was mediated by the former chairman of the Carson campaign, Terry Giles, who left the campaign earlier this year.
“Jeff [Reeter] is the guy that Ben Carson has identified as the guy he’s most interested in having run a super PAC in support of him,” Giles told MSNBC, adding that Run, Ben, Run had built a very large grassroots network, so bringing them together was his objective.
There is a third PAC backing Carson, One Vote, which Watts also said the soon-to-be-former super super PAC wasn’t opposed to embracing as well; Giles said they were not part of the initial discussions on joining forces, but could later be brought into the mix if the organizers decide to do so.