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That’s that: Ben Carson officially exits 2016 presidential race

Republican presidential candidate retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson speaks during an election night party in Baltimore, Tuesday, March 1, 2016. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Dr. Ben Carson formally announced Friday that he would leave the 2016 presidential race.

The news was not unexpected, as the former candidate said in a statement earlier this week that he did “not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results.”

Carson was almost a non-factor on Super Tuesday, as he only won about two delegates of the 595 at stake in 11 states.

The neurosurgeon wasn’t always a sidelined candidate. He raised $58 million for his campaign, more than any other Republican contender.

But an Associated Press review of his campaign finance filings show Carson’s campaign is an extreme example of the big-money business of presidential politics. His campaign burned through the millions he raised by spending more on fundraising and consultants than on mass media advertising, on-the-ground employees and other things that could have swayed voters, the filings show.

Over the past week, the candidate himself has wondered aloud whether his campaign aides took advantage of him, even saying he was disappointed in himself for trusting some people around him “without really vetting them carefully.”

Carson enjoyed a healthy amount of popularity in Arizona. At one point, he overtook Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in a poll, though his lead was within the margin of error. He also was the most popular Republican candidate in the state, as judged by Facebook likes.

Carson spoke in front of more than 10,000 people at a campaign rally in Phoenix and toured the border with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

Carson said he will now focus his efforts on becoming chairman of a group that encourages Christians to vote.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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