Ben Carson ’73, a former member of the Yale Corporation, announced on Sunday night that he would pursue the 2016 Republican nomination for President.
Carson, a political conservative and acclaimed African-American neurosurgeon from Detroit, Mich., graduated from the University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He later received his MD from the University of Michigan Medical School, and, in 1987, became the first surgeon to successfully separate twin joins conjoined at the head.
Additionally, Carson served as an alumni fellow on the Yale Corporation from 1997 to 2003.
In 2013, Carson became popular among Republicans after giving a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast that criticized President Barack Obama’s health care law and “moral decay” in the United States. Shortly after, The Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial titled “Ben Carson for President,” and he has retained popularity since.
Though Carson announced on March 3 that he would be “formally exploring” a presidential run, he officially launched his presidential campaign Monday, in his hometown of Detroit.
“I’m Ben Carson, and I’m a candidate for president of the United States,” Carson said Detroit’s Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, where he made his announcement on Monday.
Yale political science professors interviewed in March expressed skepticism regarding Carson’s presidential campaign, noting his political inexperience and somewhat controversial views.
“Ben Carson has a very impressive life story,” Political Science Professor John Bullock said. “He has also had a surprising degree of fundraising success. But even so, he has almost no chance of winning his party’s nomination.”
Carson has two major issues from an electoral perspective, Bullock said, the first being that he has never held an elected office of any kind, and the second being that he has almost no support among top GOP fundraisers.
Still, Charles Ellis ’59, who served on the Yale Corporation alongside Carson, praised the neurosurgeon, calling him an “enormously brilliant man” with conceptual skills of “a very high order.”
Armstrong Williams, senior adviser to Carson, also announced this morning that the campaign would be delayed, however, as Carson plans to stay in Detroit on Monday to visit his mother, who recently fell critically ill. Though Carson initially planned to campaign in Iowa for three days, he will now just have two days — Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
Carly Fiorina, Republican and former technology executive, also announced Monday that she will be running for president, making her and Carson are the fourth and fifth candidates to formally seek the Republican Party’s 2016 nomination. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced their respective candidacy earlier this year.