- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2014

The push for Ben Carson to run for president in 2016 is picking up steam, as a group encouraging him to run has raised more money in the first three months of this year than the group rallying behind Hillary Rodham Clinton, or those tied to Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and other potential GOP candidates.

The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, which isn’t associated with Mr. Carson, reported $2.4 million in donations for that period to the Federal Election Commission — more than Ready for Hillary and other notable GOP-tied PACs, Newsmax reported.

But the money raised for a possible Carson run may be for naught. A spokesman for Mr. Carson said the retired neurosurgeon isn’t the least bit interested in holding the White House office, Newsmax reported.

But the PAC’s chairman, John Philip Sousa IV, said he’ll push forward anyway, citing the funds raised as a sign the American public seeks something new in its next president.

“My gut tells me that the American people are looking for a citizen statesman, for a non-politician,” Mr. Sousa told Newsmax.

Mr. Carson’s website includes a video of him speaking about the “first thing I’d do if I were ever president.” Yet his close associates say the video isn’t meant to convey any interest in a bid the White House.

“Many of us talk about what we would do if we were president,” Armstrong Williams, Mr. Carson’s business manager, told Newsmax. “There is no interest in running for president. If the Lord speaks to him and says to him to run, then that’s a different story. But I don’t know a lot of people in the world who the Lord has spoken to directly.”

The PAC has raised a total of $3.9 million since last year, but spent much of it on direct mailings and fundraisers. At the end of March, the committee had $228,000 in the bank. Ready for Hillary, meanwhile, has spent $4.9 million of the $5.7 million it has raised in two years, Newsmax reported.