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GOP candidate Carson set to speak Sunday at Free Chapel
Neurosurgeon's appearance on book tour expected to draw big crowd
Ben Carson foronline
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson greets audience members following a town hall meeting Oct. 2 in Ankeny, Iowa. - photo by Charlie Neibergall

Ben Carson

What: Speaking as part of his “A More Perfect Union” book tour

When: 9 and 11 a.m. Sunday

Where: Free Chapel, 3001 McEver Road, Gainesville; overflow seating at church and at Free Chapel's North Campus, 1290 McEver Road

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson’s planned appearance at a Gainesville church Sunday is stirring the area’s GOP base.

“He’s quite commanding as far as a speaker and his manner,” said Debra Pilgrim, who chairs the Hall County GOP. “There should be a huge crowd (at the church).”

She expects his appearance might prompt other GOP contenders for the White House to stop in Hall before Georgia’s March 1 primary.

“We had such an early start this year and have such a large, deep bench (of candidates) that I feel we probably will (have) other candidates come through,” Pilgrim said.

Carson is set to speak at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services at Free Chapel, 3001 McEver Road, as part of his “A More Perfect Union” book tour.

“We are thrilled to host Dr. Carson and excited to bring his positive message of encouragement and faith to our community,” senior pastor Jentezen Franklin said.

The church has prepared overflow seating at its main campus and will also have overflow seating at the church’s North Campus at 1290 McEver Road.

Ed Asbridge, president of the South Hall Republican Club, said he said he believes Carson’s appearance “not only will charge the base but will motivate all of us a little more to know what we’ve got ahead of us.”

“We’ve got to have a winner this time — him or someone else,” he said.

Sheila Nicholas, who chairs the Hall County Democratic Party, said she understands why Republicans are fired up about Carson’s appearance.

“I think it’s wonderful that they have somebody of his caliber coming here,” she said.

Before he became a presidential candidate, Carson retired as the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He is well known for his groundbreaking work in separating conjoined twins.

Carson’s autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” was the subject of an award-winning television movie in which Cuba Gooding Jr. played Carson.

A former member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, Carson is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the country.

As a candidate, Carson has caught flak for a couple of statements he has made.

Last month, Carson, a devout Christian, said Islam is antithetical to the Constitution, and he doesn’t believe that a Muslim should be elected president.

Most recently, his call for those caught in mass shootings to rush the attacker is drawing criticism from public safety experts and little support from presidential rivals.

He did get support for the remark from one high-profile GOP hopeful, Donald Trump, who said, “Ben Carson was speaking in general terms as to what he would do if confronted with a gunman, and was not criticizing the victims.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

 

Ben Carson

What: Speaking as part of his “A More Perfect Union” book tour

When: 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday

Where: Free Chapel, 3001 McEver Road, Gainesville; overflow seating at church and at Free Chapel's North Campus, 1290 McEver Road

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