U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson threatened on Friday to bolt the party and launch an independent White House bid, accusing Republican Party leaders of trying to manipulate who wins the 2016 nomination.
Carson's threat came a day after party operatives said the race is so unpredictable that it could result in a contested convention in July when delegates meet to formally pick their presidential nominee.
1. He is a weekly opinion columnist for The Washington Times.
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2. He is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and his father was a minister.
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10. He and his wife started a scholarship fund called "Carson scholars fund" in 1994 which has so far awarded 6,700 scholarships to kids for "academic excellence and humanitarian qualities."
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Carson's concern is that party officials will rally around a candidate of their choice and exclude him.
"The party should not be doing anything that is deceptive and under the covers," Carson told reporters in Burlington, Iowa.
The retired neurosurgeon had led polls of Republican voters, but support has slumped in recent weeks as Carson has struggled to offer details of his foreign policy vision.
A poll of Republican voters in the early voting state of New Hampshire conducted by public television station WBUR found that Carson's support has fallen to only 6 percent from 17 percent in mid-September.
A so-called "brokered convention," in which no single candidate has a sufficient number of nominating delegates to become the presidential nominee in the November election, used to be a common feature of American politics. But there has not been one in more than 60 years.
Top party operatives, at a dinner hosted by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, discussed the possibility that the Republican battle for a nominee will extend to the July 18-21 convention in Cleveland, officials told Reuters on Thursday.
They stressed that the issue came up only briefly.
MT. AYR, IA - JANUARY 22 : Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is introduced during his 'Trust in God Townhall' campaign stop January 22, 2016 in Mt. Ayr, Iowa. Carson, who is seeking the nomination from the Republican Party is on the presidential campaign trail across Iowa ahead of the Iowa Caucus taking place February 1. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 06: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks to the media before speaking at a gala for the Black Republican Caucus of South Florida at PGA National Resort on November 6, 2015 in Palm Beach, Florida. Carson has come under media scrutiny for possibly exaggerating his background and other statements he has made recently. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 16: Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson (L) eats a piece of pizza while touring the Iowa State Fair on August 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage and touring the fairgrounds. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - OCTOBER 29: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a news conference before a campaign event at Colorado Christian University on October 29, 2015 in Lakewood, Colorado. Ben Carson was back on the campaign trail a day after the third republican debate held at the University of Colorado Boulder. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Scenes around the the Value Voters Summit on September 25, 2015 in Washington DC. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson takes the stage at the event. Dr Carson speaks to the media after the speach. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Attendees wait for Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, to arrive during a campaign stop at the birthplace of the Michigan Republican Party in Jackson, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Carson, the third candidate in the Republican race to have never held elected office, saw his numbers drop following the debate last week. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, listens as he attends a service at Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Carson will be speaking at the Iowa State Fair, which is expected to host 18 presidential candidates and runs until Aug. 23. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson participates in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, eats a slice of pizza as he tours the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. In a Sunday interview with Fox News, Carson doubled down on his assertion that a speech given by President Barack Obama intended to sell the American public on his nuclear deal with Iran contained 'coded innuendos employing standard anti-Semitic themes.' Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Donald Trump's rise to the top of the 14-candidate field has confounded establishment Republicans who have been waiting in vain for the New York billionaire's insurgent campaign to collapse.
In a statement, Carson expressed concern that party leaders would attempt to manipulate the nominating process.
"This process is the one played out by our party," Carson said in a statement. "If the powerful try to manipulate it, the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next summer may be the last convention."
If there were plans for a brokered convention, he said, "I assure you Donald Trump won't be the only one leaving the party."
Trump has repeatedly threatened to embark on an independent run for the White House if the party does not treat him fairly.
(Additional reporting by Megan Cassella and Steve Holland in Washington and Kay Henderson in Iowa; editing by David Alexander, Lisa Von Ahn and Richard Chang)