Republican Ben Carson officially drops out of US presidential race

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG/REUTERS) - After a string of defeats, Dr Ben Carson officially announced on Friday (March 4) at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he is ending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

"I am leaving the campaign trail," the retired neurosurgeon told the crowd to rousing applause. "There are a lot of people who love me, they just won't vote for me."

"I will continue to be heavily involved in trying to save our nation. We have to save it. And I'll be involved in a lot of different things," he said, including his work with the organisation My Faith Votes, and stopping a "secular progressive" from being elected president.

He did not attend the Republican debate in Michigan on Thursday.

Dr Carson indicated on Wednesday after failing to notch any victories in the first 15 primaries that he did "not see a political path forward in light of last evening's Super Tuesday primary results", although he stopped short of saying he would be dropping out.

In his speech on Friday, Dr Carson also sounded his usual notes of preserving evangelical Christian values and embracing personal responsibility.