MIAMI, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Ben Carson, who dropped out of the Republican presidential race just last week, will endorse front-runner Donald Trump on Friday. Trump confirmed the endorsement during the Republican presidential debate on CNN Thursday night. The retired neurosurgeon plans to hold a press conference at 9 a.m. ET Friday to announce his support. FOX 35's Mike Synan will be in West Palm Beach for the announcement.
The backing from the outsider ex-candidate, who captivated conservative voters with his unconventional campaign, could give Trump a boost as the candidates charge into critical primaries next Tuesday in Florida, Ohio and three other states. It also serves as a potential counterweight as other ex-candidates weigh in against him. Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina endorsed Ted Cruz earlier this week, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is meeting with Trump’s rivals, though it’s unclear whether he might endorse someone before Tuesday.
Earlier on Thursday, Carson said he was "certainly leaning" toward endorsing Trump over Texas Sen. Cruz, during an interview with Fox News Radio's John Gibson. "There are two Donald Trumps," Carson told Gibson. "There's the Donald Trump that you see on television and who gets out in front of big audiences, and there's the Donald Trump behind the scenes. They're not the same person."