I was one of the first bloggers to notice last year that there was something weird going on with the purported endorsement of Charles Lollar by Dr. Ben Carson in April of 2013.
As I noted last month, that endorsement allegedly took place at an event at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in DC on April 14, 2013. Lollar campaign manager Karen Winterling sent an email out on April 23, 2013 touting the supposed endorsement. The “endorsement” was on the campaign website for a while and eventually taken down off the site. It didn’t include any statements from Carson, just quotes from Lollar.
Fast-forward to March 2014, and Lollar’s campaign again put out a fundraising message asking for money and touting an endorsement of Lollar by Ben Carson. The message, which contained no statement from Carson, also claimed Carson had given $4000 to the Lollar campaign. I pointed out all these facts in early March.
I asked if it was really news if Carson had endorsed Lollar at the time, since the campaign also claimed he made the endorsement almost a year earlier. After last month’s alleged endorsement, I emailed the Lollar campaign questions and got no reply. I could find no direct way of contacting Carson for a statement. His speaker’s bureau website is the only apparent way to contact him as others have noted.
However, I did find an email address for someone at his scholarship foundation and sent a message asking for contact information of someone who could make a statement on the record on Dr. Carson’s behalf. I got stonewalled by the person who responded who couldn’t give me that information, but offered to pass my request along. I never heard from anyone after I provided my questions.
A month after my most recent post on the subject, Joe Steffen started digging into the matter and wrote this on April 14:
On April 9th, Carson spoke at the Weinberg Center Stage as a part of a Frederick, MD, speaker’s series. And, it was there that Carson apparently told GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Ron George and George’s running mate, Shelley Aloi, that he (Carson) had never given Charles Lollar his endorsement. According to my source, Carson went on to say that he supports anyone’s desire to run for office. That, he said, was “not an official endorsement.”
Steffen also asked Ron George for comment:
Anyway, I tried to get Ron George on the record concerning what Carson had said, and all I received in return was his campaign telling me that “Ron and Shelley were with Ben Carson but had no comment.”
Steffen also notes he tried to contact Carson through the speakers bureau and also tried to contact Lollar and his campaign with no success, which leads him ask this question:
If Ben Carson didn’t endorse Charles Lollar, why is it almost accepted as gospel that he did? Could it have something to do with this email that the Lollar campaign sent out last month? [the email that I blogged about on March 6.]
Steffen also wrote about the matter again on April 16, 2014. He noted that video existed of Carson that a Lollar supporter claimed was an endorsement. This video was possibly from the 2013 event I wrote about last month.
Steffen followed up with this statement from Fred Propheter (who is involved with the Ron George campaign):
Could it be just a matter of semantics? I was willing to let it all go at that point, and with my little mind pondering that question – until I got an email message from a friend of mine from Frederick, Fred Propheter.
Fred tells me that he was at the Weinberg Center the night of Ben Carson’s speech there and that he and Carson had a chance meeting before the Doctor’s speech. At this – Oh, Hell, I’ll let Fred explain what transpired after he bumped into Doctor Carson and struck up a brief conversation with him: “I specifically asked him if he had endorsed Lollar or ANY other candidate. 3 word answer “No, absolutely not.” Then he was gone….”
Steffen also discusses two possibilities for what’s going on:
Hmmm. Well, if nothing else, if Carson’s now saying that he didn’t endorse Charles Lollar, it sounds like either 1) He never did endorse Lollar (and I can’t find that word anywhere attached to Lollar from Carson), or if he did – or even thinks other folks may believe that he did – it sounds to me as if he is now walking that endorsement back.
Steffen comes to the conclusion that Carson never endorsed Lollar and that would appear to be the case. There have been other instances where Lollar apparently touted supportive words from people as a formal endorsement and later had to back off the claim.
To summarize things, Lollar’s campaign sent out a message in April 2013 claiming an endorsement from Carson. That “endorsement” was also placed on the old version of the Lollar website but was eventually removed. Last month, the Lollar campaign sent an email out claiming an endorsement and $4000 contribution from Carson. None of these so-called endorsements included statements from Carson himself and multiple attempts by multiple bloggers to contact him and the Lollar campaign about the matter have been ignored. The final piece of the puzzle would seem to be Carson emphatically telling Propheter last week that he didn’t endorse Lollar.