Ben Carson to visit Colorado Springs this weekend

Neurosurgeon and GOP rising star Ben Carson will visit the Springs this weekend. (photo by Gage Skidmore)

Megan Schrader --- Colorado Springs Gazette

When Colorado Springs resident Mick Hartley mentions Ben Carson he gets either an excited proclamation about the need to get Carson to run for president of the United States or a confused "Who's Ben Carson?"

It's the dichotomy of being a rising star in the GOP with no political background.

Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon who lives in West Palm Beach, Fla., will be in Colorado Springs this weekend for speaking and book-signing engagements.

Hartley is the El Paso County head of Run Ben Run, a political action committee working to get a million signatures on a petition to encourage Carson to jump into the 2016 presidential race. Hartley said he sees the Carson movement growing in El Paso County, where he has about 1,000 volunteers. He is expecting a big turnout this weekend.

"We're not going to get the far left," Hartley said. "But the middle people, I think once they have the opportunity to listen to this man they will be in his corner."

Carson said in a phone interview with The Gazette on Monday that he isn't sure if he'll run for president in 2016, but he's out laying the groundwork so he won't start behind if he decides to run.

The election results in November will play a big role in his decision, he said, noting a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate would indicate the American people are ready for a change from liberal government.

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