After finishing second-to-last or last in all of the races on Super Tuesday, Ben Carson ended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Wednesday.
Carson, 64, won none of the states and American territories that held primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday, failing to get even a single delegate, Newsmax reported.
"I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening's Super Tuesday primary results," the retired paediatric neurosurgeon said in a statement posted on his website and on social media. "However, this grassroots movement on behalf of 'We the People' will continue."
Carson—who briefly led the GOP race last year but later fell to the bottom in national polls—said he would not attend Thursday's Fox News debate in Detroit.
He said he would discuss his future during a speech Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington.
"Even though I will not be in my hometown of Detroit on Thursday, I remain deeply committed to my home nation, America," Carson said.
"Along with millions of patriots who have supported my campaign for president, I remain committed to Saving America for Future Generations," he said. "We must not depart from our goals to restore what God and our Founders intended for this exceptional nation."
Carson's concession statement was unexpected since his trusted friend and political adviser Armstrong Williams moments earlier told Politico that Carson was not quitting the race — even though "there is no pathway" and despite offers for "many deals."
Carson even posted a "Dear Haters" video on Twitter earlier Wednesday in which he vowed to stay in the race.
"Sometimes you're going to face opposition," Carson says in the video. "And sometimes you're going to find people with whom you disagree. What good does it do to hate that person, to try to destroy that person?"
Trump vs. Cruz, eventually
Meanwhile, Newsmax political analyst Dick Morris says he expects the GOP race to eventually turn into a two-man contest between Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz by mid-March, with Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich joining Carson in the exit door.
"What's going to happen here is Rubio is going to be forced out because he's going to lose Florida," said Morris, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton.
"Kasich is going to be forced out because he probably is going to lose Ohio. That means it's going to be Trump against Cruz straight on down the line. It's going to be a tough fight. They're both good candidates, they're both great debaters. It'll be fun to watch them against each other," Morris told Newsmax TV's "Dennis Michael Lynch: Unfiltered" on Wednesday.
Florida and Ohio hold their primaries on March 15.
Morris also predicted that anti-Trump forces will likely bare new scandals about Trump that have never come out before.
"Stuff you never heard about, stuff I never heard about, stuff that no Google search is going to pull up. The guy has lived a controversial life for almost 70 years. I know because I've known him almost all that time. There's going to be stuff that's going to come out that's going to shock everybody," he said.
"That doesn't mean Cruz is going to win. More likely than not Trump will win but this is not over by a long, long, long shot."
In other related developments following Trump's Super Tuesday victories:
● Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee who lost to reelectionst President Barack Obama in 2012, said he plans to make a major address on the state of the Republican presidential race, fuelling speculation among political insiders that he may join the race if the GOP is forced into a brokered convention.
● Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer said although it's still technically possible for a GOP candidate to defeat Trump, that's not likely to happen. "You look at the math, you look at the odds, you would say absolutely they are too late," Krauthammer said during Fox News Channel's election coverage on Tuesday. "It isn't as if it's impossible, but the math is completely in Trump's favour."
● Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Trump will "destroy the Republican Party" if he becomes president of the United States. "If Trump becomes our nominee and ultimately becomes president, he could actually destroy the Republican Party," said the five-term Texan, who served as majority leader from 2003 to 2005.