The already thinning crowd of Republican presidential candidates may lose two of its top contenders. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, like front-runner Donald Trump, is considering dropping out of the GOP to run as an independent.
The Washington Post reports that leaders of the GOP are considering inside deals to determine the party’s nominee if no candidate has enough delegates to win the nomination on his or her own, making waves among Republican candidates, although the RNC has downplayed the remarks.
"If the leaders of the Republican Party want to destroy the party, they should continue to hold meetings like the one described in The Washington Post this morning," Carson said in a statement to CNN. "If this was the beginning of a plan to subvert the will of the voters and replace it with the will of the political elite, I assure you Donald Trump will not be the only one leaving the party.”
The RNC required all candidates sign a pledge they would support whoever the Republican candidate is, but since the beginning, Trump has acknowledged the possibility of an independent run, alleging the party hasn’t treated him fairly. Carson has also raised the issue before, but hasn’t openly floated the possibility of leaving the RNC before now.
The Republican candidates will debate on CNN on Dec. 15, but it’s unclear if Carson or Trump will address the party affiliation of their campaign at that time.