By Frank Lewis
When your campaign is at the top of the heap, you are probably doing something right and right now Dr. Ben Carson sits atop the Republican primary competition and sitting right there with him is Minford native Barry Bennett who is the national campaign chairman for the 2016 Ben Carson for President campaign.
“A mutual friend introduced us and I went down to see him and Candy, his wife, in Florida in January and spent a day with them and I just fell in love with him,” Bennett said. “I’ve been working with him ever since.”
Bennett attended Minford schools before moving to Mansfield where he graduated from Lexington High School. The move was precipitated when the steel mill in New Boston closed and his father, Jerry Bennett, was transferred to Mansfield. Ask him where we went to college and he responds with a resounding – “THE Ohio State University.”
“I asked him one day, Barry, did you ever think you would do this well?” Jerry Bennett said. “And he said, ‘I was naive enough that I thought I could do it.”
During an election period recently, Barry Bennett had 23 candidates he was working for and 19 of them won.
“He has done real well,” Jerry Bennett said. “He’s just as good a man as there is.”
According to CNN, a new national poll shows Ben Carson is ahead of Donald Trump in the Republican presidential race.
“We’re up in two polls where we are leading outside the margin of error,” Bennett said. “We are by far raising the most money. We raised $10 million in October, whereas Marco Rubio raised $7 million for the entire quarter. So we are doing very well. We’ve got the most active social media followers. Ahead in the polls and more money, it all looks pretty good right now.”
According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey Carson has 29 percent support compared to Trump’s 23 percent. A CBS/New York Times poll last week also showed Carson leading Trump.
“He is just a very different kind of candidate and it’s a time where people are looking for something different,” Carson said. “He is not like a politician. I think we’ve all been disappointed with Washington that overpromises and underdelivers and I think people are ready for someone from outside the political realm who perhaps if not burn the city down at least shake it up.”
The primary season is the first hurdle, and should he remain on top and win the party’s nomination, there is a second hurdle on the horizon.
“A Quinnipiac Poll out this (Wednesday) morning has him beating Hillary (Clinton) by 10 points nationally, 50 to 40,” Bennett said.
But Bennett says sometimes candidates with early leads start planning their inauguration, and that is not his strategy.
“We’re not going to do that, but he has everything that Hillary doesn’t have,” Bennett said. “That’s honesty and integrity. And I think that’s a great contrast and we would welcome the fall campaign.
According to bio, Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, on Sept. 18, 1951. His mother, though undereducated herself, pushed her sons to read and to believe in themselves. Carson went from being a poor student to receiving honors and he eventually attended medical school. As a doctor, he became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital at age 33, and became famous for his ground-breaking work separating conjoined twins.
“A lot of people think the American dream has died,” Bennett said. “And here is a great example that it is still out there.”
Bennett, whose parents, Jerry and Annette Bennett, still reside in Muleton, said he expects a large local turnout should the big day come.
“If we do have an inauguration, I promise that half of Minford will be there,” Bennett said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.