Ben Carson: Other campaigns sabotaged us with 'dirty tricks'

Ben Carson Isn't Quitting His Campaign
Ben Carson Isn't Quitting His Campaign

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Dr. Ben Carson and his campaign accused Sen. Ted Cruz's team of foul play on Monday night, alleging that his supporters had convinced caucus-goers he was out of the race.

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"I was reasonably happy today, until I, you know, discovered the dirty tricks going on -- spreading rumors I had dropped out," Carson said on Monday night. The campaign told MSNBC they'd had "confirmed reports" of Cruz supporters telling voters at caucus sites that Carson had dropped out of the race. MSNBC has not yet confirmed the authenticity of these reports.

"That's the reason I got into this race, looking at the level of deceit and distrust going on in country," Carson told supporters.

The campaign is pointing to a tweet from Rep. Steve King, who endorsed Carson, as evidence. The tweet was sent at 8:20pm EST, when Iowans were already at caucus sites.

King was retweeting a report that the doctor was heading to Florida for a day. Carson said earlier in the night he was going home to grab some "fresh clothes," but told reporters not to read into it.

Carson's campaign rushed to downplay the importance of a trip home.

"Dr. Ben Carson is not suspending his presidential campaign, which is stronger than ever," a statement sent out to reporters read. "After spending 18 consecutive days on the campaign trail, Dr. Carson needs to go home and get a fresh set of clothes."

The campaign told NBC News Carson plans to speak at Wednesday's National Prayer Breakfast -- the event that put him on the political map just three years ago -- before heading to New Hampshire for Thursday's debate. His team could not say how many events, if any, the candidate will do while there.

See photos of Ben Carson on the campaign trail below:

The Granite State doesn't appear to be a high priority for Carson, a deeply religious social conservative who has focused on the early states with strong evangelical voting blocks, Iowa and South Carolina. He's spent just 13 days in New Hampshire so far, according to p2016.org. That is the same number of days Gov. Scott Walker spent in the state, when he ran for president for just three months this summer.

Despite the campaign's insistence that the campaign is strong, they did not have a particularly strong night; Sen. Ted Cruz is projected to win the caucus. Sen. Marco Rubio was surged into a strong third place, double digits ahead of Carson.

This story originally appeared on MSNBC.com

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