Ben Carson ends campaign, will lead Christian voter group

In this Oct. 9, 2015 photo, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington. In the past week, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has suggested the Holocaust wouldn't have happened if Jews in Europe were better armed, said gun control is a bigger tragedy than a bullet-riddled body and that the best way to confront a mass shooter is to rush the gunman. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Washington (CNN)- Ben Carson on Friday officially ended his presidential campaign and revealed his next move: chairing a group focused on getting out the Christian vote in November.

“Even though I might be leaving the campaign trail, you know there’s a lot of people who love me. They just won’t vote for me,” Carson told the Conservative Political Action Conference gathering in National Harbor, Maryland. “But it’s OK. It’s not a problem. I will still continue to be heavily involved in trying to save our nation.”

When Carson said he would be “leaving the campaign trail,” the crowd gasped, giving him a standing ovation.

Later in the speech, Carson explained, “I did the math. I looked at the delegate counts … and I realized it simply wasn’t going to happen. And if that’s the case, then I simply didn’t want to interfere with the process.”

Carson did not endorse another Republican candidate.

He used the speech mostly to reiterate his campaign themes, but did also thank his campaign volunteers, especially Braden Joplin, an Iowa staffer who died in a car crash before the state’s caucuses.

“It’s an experience that I will never forget,” Carson said.

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