Presidential candidate Ben Carson said Monday that he would run outside of the Republican Party “if I had to,” but he backtracked when he was pressed if he would run as an independent candidate in the 2016 election.
Candidates running for the GOP nomination in the 2016 race have signed a loyalty pledge to run as a Republican. But Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, said on radio station WBT, as flagged by BuzzFeed News, that he would consider running as an Independent.
“If I had to, I would, but I don’t think it’s necessary,” Carson said. “I believe that people can actually move beyond the label.”
Carson noted that he has had Democrats tell him that they would vote for him on Election Day. The radio host asked him again if he would run outside of the Republican party.
“Well, I don’t see a situation where I need to run outside of it,” Carson responded. “I see a lot of intelligent people at the rallies that we go to, both Democrats and Republican, mostly Republicans, mostly conservatives. But you know, again, I don’t think we need to emphasize so much a person’s political party as we need to emphasize a person’s philosophy.”
“So you don’t think you would need to run outside the party, but you would?” the radio host asked Carson.
“If I had to,” Carson said.
“Huh,” the host said. “So, if you’re not the nominee, you’ll run outside the party?”
“No, I didn’t say that at all. That’s not what I’m saying,” Carson said. “I have no intention of running an outside campaign. Zero.”
Listen to the exchange, via BuzzFeed: