Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is not considering a Republican run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, and will continue to prepare for a possible 2016 campaign for the White House, an aide said Monday.
On Monday, Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced that she plans to retire after serving five terms in the Senate.
Carson, who practiced medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for more than 30 years, was immediately mentioned by some supporters as an ideal Republican to run for the Senate seat next year. But that doesn’t look like it will happen.
“His focus is on making a decision to run for the presidency,” Carson’s top adviser, Terry Giles, told The Daily Caller.
Earlier Monday, conservative writers made the case for Carson to run for the Senate.
“Dr. Carson has talked about running for president,” John Hinderaker wrote at the Powerline blog. “He is a great guy and a tremendous asset to the Republican Party, but administering the executive branch is not an entry-level position for a politician. Carson, I think, would be ideally placed in the Senate.”
Jonah Goldberg at the National Review also called for Carson to enter the race.
“I understand Ben Carson wants the brass ring of the Oval Office,” Goldberg wrote. “I have deep and abiding respect for Dr. Carson, but I think that’s a long shot.”
“But what about Mikulski’s seat?” Goldberg continued. “Yes, Maryland is a deep-blue state. But it also elected a Republican for governor last year, shocking pretty much everyone. Meanwhile, Carson is a huge figure in Maryland, with deep ties to the community. Carson’s profile in the African-American community, particularly in Baltimore, is huge. He’s been the inspiring guest speaker at local Baltimore high schools for decades.”
In recent weeks, Carson has been hiring staffers and giving speeches in early presidential nominating states. He’s expected to make a formal announcement about his intentions this spring.