SUMMERLIN, Nevada — Dr. Ben Carson addressed a packed town hall meeting in suburban Las Vegas on Tuesday morning, just hours before Republican voters headed to the caucuses.
Warning that the country’s political system was being controlled by the political class, Carson urged Americans to use their votes to stop the decline of the republic.
“Having a political class who feels entitled to our hard-earned money — and they just waste it — makes absolutely no sense.”
In the question-and-answer session, Carson took aim at the left and the welfare state.
“Where in the Constitution does it say to eliminate poverty … And how did that work out?”
Carson is currently polling in fourth or fifth place in the state, trading places in different polls with Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He remains far behind frontrunner Donald Trump, and also well behind Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), who are locked in a bitter fight for second place. His exit from the race has been anticipated ever since the Cruz campaign erroneously suggested he would be dropping out after the Iowa caucuses, based on CNN reports that he was heading home before resuming his campaign.
Still, while Rubio left Nevada after a morning rally in Las Vegas, and Kasich avoided the state entirely over the past few days, Carson has campaigned hard in both rural and urban counties in recent days, particularly in the Reno area. He was joined in Summerlin by his wife, Candy, who made a brief appearance onstage.
Carson focused much of his time on policy questions and constitutional issues, speaking positively about an Article V convention to amend the Constitution, an idea that has been championed by radio host Mark Levin. The enthusiastic crowd in Summerlin responded warmly to Carson’s careful, patient speaking style.
“The reason I’m here is because you’ve been projecting not a love of power, but a love of humanity,” one woman said during the question-and-answer session.
A young former supporter of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who dropped out of the race several weeks ago, and now identified himself as an undecided voter, asked Carson to make a pitch for his support.
Carson said that the young man should vote for him “so that you can have a part of the American dream, so that it won’t be gone by the time you get older.”
“If I get elected, We, the People, are going to control the government,” he concluded.
Adelle Nazarian contributed to this report.