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Ben Carson doesn’t see ‘a political path forward’

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01:03 - Source: CNN
Ben Carson: 'I do not see a political path forward'

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Ben Carson doesn't "see a political path forward" in the Republican presidential nomination process

He will not attend Thursday's GOP presidential debate in his hometown of Detroit

Carson plans to speak to his political future on Friday at the CPAC meeting near Washington

CNN —  

Ben Carson doesn’t “see a political path forward” in the Republican presidential nomination process, and will not attend Thursday’s GOP presidential debate in his hometown of Detroit, he said in a statement.

But Carson stopped short of saying he was officially leaving the race.

The retired neurosurgeon and his aides reached the decision after a staff meeting Wednesday morning in Baltimore following a disappointing finish on Super Tuesday.

Related: Mitt Romney to speak on ‘state of the 2016 presidential race’ Thursday

In an email to supporters, campaign chairman Bob Dees said the “political efforts must come to a close.”

“We have often said that ‘reality is our friend.’ The reality is that we together have been on an amazing journey – the right candidate for the right cause for the right reasons at the right time,” Dees wrote.

“No doubt many of you have tears as you read this, just as I tearfully write these words – tearfully because the reality is that our political efforts must come to a close,” he added. “Gratefully, the grass roots movement that has given new voice to ‘We the People’ and has inspired millions will continue.”

Carson said he will go into more detail during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Committee Conference near Washington on Friday.

MORE: The 12 most memorable quotes from Ben Carson’s campaign

It appears to end what once seemed like a promising campaign for the first-time political candidate. He was the first GOP candidate to overtake Donald Trump in the polls for a period of several weeks around October. But as fall turned to winter, Carson consistently lost ground to Trump and later Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.