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Ben Carson suspends 2016 campaign at CPAC

Ben Carson announced Friday he is "leaving the campaign trail" after a string of disappointing finishes in the Republican presidential nominating contests.

"There's a lot of people who love me, they just won't vote for me," Carson said during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference taking place outside Washington, D.C.

The announcement was expected after Carson released a statement saying he does "not see a political path forward" after the Super Tuesday contests. He did not participate in Thursday's GOP debate in Michigan.

Carson received a standing ovation after making the announcement, and promised he would still be "heavily involved in trying to save the nation."

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Ahead of Carson's speech Friday, he was announced as the chair of My Faith Votes, a group aimed at motivating Christians to get to the ballot box.

"I have always kind of thought that people at some point would just say, you know, enough of this foolishness, we're going to look at these policies and we're going to see what works," Carson said in a question-and-answer session after his speech. "We haven't gotten there quite yet."

The former pediatric neurosurgeon surged in the polls last fall, even leading the once crowded GOP field in Iowa. But his soft demeanor and questions about his foreign policy expertise made him an easy target both of his Republican rivals and late-night comics.

Carson ended up finishing fourth in the Hawkeye State and earned just eight delegates in the first 15 GOP nominating contests.

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