Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has set himself a series of major goals over the next year as the GOP longshot takes aim at becoming the next president of the United States.
The outspoken conservative plans to raise $130 million in his potential campaign war chest and win the highest share of the popular vote in November next year since Ronald Reagan won in 1984, according to Politico
To get a jump on his likely Republican rivals, Carson this week has launched an exploratory committee
aimed at raising money to explore a White House bid in 2016.
The 63-year-old physician and author, who has never run for office, has also hired a number of senior staff and aides, including a national finance director and state-based operatives in Iowa and South Carolina.
Terry Giles, a Houston lawyer who will serve as Carson’s campaign chairman, says Carson can come out on top in a wide field of GOP candidates in 2016 because he will demand bolder reforms than opponents with more political experience.
"Generally, politicians lack either the will or the courage, because it can perhaps affect your political career, to take the bold steps necessary to turn this country around," Giles told Politico.
Giles also said that the Carson team plans to raise $65 million between now and the Florida primary next year, and another $65 million before the general election.
Carson has hired Doug Watts, who worked for the Reagan-Bush presidential campaign in 1984, as his communications director, while Edward Brookover has joined as the potential campaign’s senior strategist.
Carson is set to name his likely campaign manager and deputy campaign manager on Wednesday, while retired Maj. Gen. Robert Dees will head Carson's "military preparedness" team.
Carson is seen as having an outside chance of winning the GOP nod due to his lack of name recognition and his weakness for making outrageous comments, such as comparing homosexuality to bestiality and Obamacare to slavery, the political news website reported.
"In stating their high aims, his advisers appear to be rebuking the notion that Carson doesn’t have a chance," wrote the website’s Jonathan Topaz and Katie Glueck.
Giles noted that Carson’s incredible life story, rising from inner-city Detroit to becoming the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins by age 33, will attract voters in the run-up to the primaries and the general election.
Politico says that Carson is likely to announce whether he will enter the GOP race in May after finishing his contract for paid speeches with the Washington Speakers Bureau.
But he’s already meeting with the heads of conservative and libertarian-leaning think tanks, including the Heritage Foundation, Hoover Institution, Cato Institute, and American Enterprise Institute, to discuss foreign policy issues.
His foreign policy team will be meeting in Washington for several days later this week.
Giles told Politico that Carson plans to court low-income voters and moderate Democrats with a message of raising people out of poverty and limiting government dependence. He also plans to offer tax credits to businesses that get people off welfare.
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