Ben Carson has told supporters he doesn’t see a “path forward” for himself in the Republican race for the White House and would be skipping the debate on Thursday.
The former neurosurgeon did not, however, end his campaign formally. He is expected to make an announcement at a conference hosted by a conservative group on Friday.
His exit would leave Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich still in the race and they will be on stage on Thursday for a debate before a bunch of primaries on Saturday.
After peaking briefly in polls to run alongside frontrunner Trump, and looking menacingly close to overtaking him, 64-year-old Carson’s campaign never really lived up to the promise.
He did poorly in debates, where he complained frequently about being ignored by moderators who found more time for others such as Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Jeb Bush.
And he failed the media scrutiny that comes with running for the White House as many of his claims from his life story were fond lacking in corroboration, notably his claim in books and speeches that he had been offered a scholarship to the prestigious West Point military academy. He never recovered.
The religiously conservative Carson was the only African American in the race to succeed President Barack Obama.