After garnering considerable support among conservative voters, Ben Carson’s campaign appears to have hit some unexpected speed bumps. The GOP presidential hopeful and campaign first-timer finds himself in a tough spot after four key staffers announced they were leaving his campaign.
According to the Washington Post, the four recent resignations have “gutted the core of Carson’s apparatus and left the 63-year-old first-time candidate with only a handful of experienced advisers.” The ill-timed departure of four of Carson’s key players – campaign chairman Terry Giles, national finance chairman Jeff Reeter, deputy campaign manager Stephen Rubino and general counsel Kathy Freberg – have left him in a bit of a political pickle.
Since announcing his bid for the nomination last month in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan, the retired neurosurgeon has gained substantial steam among tea partiers and other right-wing organizations – positioning the self-proclaimed non-politician as a legitimate contender for the GOP nomination. Last week’s Fox News poll showed Carson sitting close to the top of a growing list of Republican 2016 contenders. GOP primary voters ranked him just slightly behind more traditional candidates like former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
But as the Washington Post reports, though Carson has proven his viability with his rising poll figures, his campaign has been riddled with the rookie errors of a political novice and “marked by signs of dysfunction and amateurism.” And some speculate that recent turmoil is only the beginning of a campaign potentially marred by the inexperience and lack of political savvy of a first-time runner.
To further Carson’s campaign conundrum, two super PACs originally intended to aid in his quest for the GOP nomination are now working against him by drawing away potential donations and volunteers.
The independent super PACs, Run Ben Run and One Vote, could be considered outright rivals as they’re vying for money and supporters that the Carson campaign depends on, explained former campaign chairman Terry Giles to the Washington Post: “They are going after the same small donors, and we’ve simply got to figure this out or else we are going up against each other the whole time.”
The roadblocks have left Carson’s campaign hinging on the competence of a select few individuals, namely conservative political commentator and Carson’s longtime business manager and friend Armstrong Williams.
“Things happen, man,” Williams told the Washington Post. “That’s the way life works. You start out with one idea, hoping it all works out, and then you get a better understanding of what needs to happen. Remember, we’re not necessarily a group of political people.”
Reports suggest that Carson supporters are also concerned with his alleged “nonchalance” amid his campaign troubles, limited phone calls with staffers and visits to campaign headquarters that happen only “occasionally.”