News that Ben Carson only became Republican a year ago isn’t really news

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Dr. Ben Carson has been getting hammered in recent days for some of his outlandish comments on the campaign trail. Both the New York TimesCharles Blow and the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson have slammed the GOP presidential candidate for his comments on what he would do if confronted by a mass killer who wanted to shoot him, as well as his invoking Nazi Germany when talking about gun control.

Carson has dismissed such complaints, and on The O’Reilly Factor on Monday night, host Bill O’Reilly defended him, saying, “There’s something about you that really annoys the secular-progressives.”

But it’s not just liberals who are scrutinizing the retired pediatric neurosurgeon, who has maintained in the top tier of GOP candidates right behind Donald Trump in most national and statewide polls in the Republican presidential contest.

On a conservative website called the The American Mirror, blogger Kyle Olson breathlessly reports that Carson never affiliated with the Republican Party until he changed his voter registration in Palm Beach County on October 31,2014. He goes on to writes that Carson was previously affiliated with the Independence Party of Florida, and prior to moving to Florida, he was registered as an independent in Maryland since 2001, not having voted in any primaries through the next 10 years.

However, Carson has never been shy about admitting that though he was once a Republican, he left the party decades ago before registering again with the GOP  last October in Palm Beach County, where he currently lives.

“It’s truly a pragmatic move because I have to run in one party or another. If you run as an independent, you only risk splitting the electorate,” Carson told The Washington Times in an interview last fall before he made the change. “I clearly would not be welcome in the Democratic Party, and so that only leaves one party.”

Carson says he grew up as a Democrat but switched his party affiliation to Republican in the 1980s after listening to Ronald Reagan. However, he left the party and switched to being an independent about 15-20 years ago after getting a “sour taste” watching Republicans go after Bill Clinton regarding the Monica Lewinsky affair. “I just saw so much hypocrisy in both parties,” he told the Times.

The story was picked up and ran online by conservative news sites like TeaParty.org, WorldNetDaily and the DailyCaller.

Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at [email protected]



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