Exclusive: Ben Carson Allies Laying Groundwork For Presidential Campaign

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Allies of Ben Carson are actively making preparations behind the scenes for the neurosurgeon to enter the 2016 presidential race, with plans for a possible campaign headquarters in the suburbs outside Washington D.C., The Daily Caller has learned.

In an interview Monday, Terry Giles — the 66-year-old businessman who would serve as Carson’s campaign chairman if he decides to run — said the campaign operation would likely be based in Bethesda, Md.

“As you know, he has lived a long time in Maryland and that’s what people associate him with,” Giles said.

Carson — the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital — acknowledges he is thinking about running as a Republican but hasn’t officially announced his intentions yet.

“I think the odds are definitely in favor of Ben making the decision to run,” Giles, a longtime friend of Carson’s, predicted Monday. “He doesn’t need to make that decision yet. But he’s asked me to get involved in the campaign if he does run.”

While Carson is waiting until after the midterm elections this year to make a decision, Giles is already laying the groundwork so a campaign operation can come together quickly if Carson decides to pull the trigger on a run.

“I’m doing quite a bit of preparation,” Giles said. “I’m working very solidly on the strategies that I think it will take to build a strong and winnable coalition within the Republican Party.”

Giles said discussions have already begun about who might staff a Carson campaign.

“We’ve talked to a number of people, we’re vetting a number of people,” he said. “You know, when Ben gives me the go-ahead, I want to be in a position to be able to put together that organization fairly quickly.”

Giles said he understands most operatives are busy doing the 2014 races, and will be free to make a decision about whether to work for Carson after November’s elections.

He said Carson is also busy studying up on the issues, and developing a potential campaign platform.

“We’re working on drilling down on our various issues,” he said. “Working on accumulating real facts, so we’re not basing our opinions on conjecture or allegation.”

“We are, of course, watching closely who the other candidates will be so that we have some sense of what the contest will look like,” Giles said. “We are, of course, monitoring closely the response to Ben, whether it be in the press or his various speeches.”

Giles also pointed out that Carson is making endorsements to candidates in key legislative races across the country.

Giles, who lives in Texas, said he and his wife are already looking at getting a second residence in the D.C. area. The businessman said he would keep his home in Texas, but would likely work full-time in D.C. during a campaign.

“He knows that my wife and I are looking at residences in Washington D.C., in trying to plan what our life is going to look like next year if we get involved,” Giles said.

Giles, who has never run a campaign, acknowledges there is a lot to “get on top of.”

“Quite honestly, it feels kind of like a full time job already,” he said with a laugh.

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Alex Pappas