Dec 4, 2015

Presidential contender Ben Carson to visit Cody?

A leading Republican presidential candidate — retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — will visit Park County in the coming weeks or months, a local tea party leader predicts.

“They (Carson campaign officials) have acknowledged that they will come here to Cody, and I’m holding them to that,” Big Horn Basin TEA Party organizer Rob DiLorenzo said Tuesday on KODI-AM. “They have promised me they will do that.”

Ben Carson. Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore via CC BY-SA 3.0
Carson is generally running second in national polls of the Republican field, behind real estate mogul Donald Trump. Campaign finance reports show Carson has been extremely popular among Wyoming’s political donors, raising some 2 1/2 times more money ($115,800) than any other presidential candidate through September.

In his appearance on KODI’s “Speak Your Piece,” DiLorenzo said Carson's campaign has told him the candidate might be able to visit the area as soon as the middle of this month — though it could also be early next year.

Carson’s campaign did not respond to an inquiry about the candidate’s schedule.

Bringing as many presidential candidates into the Big Horn Basin as possible is the TEA Party's main goal in 2016, DiLorenzo said.

“I think the people of Wyoming have an absolute right ... to hear from them firsthand, not to hear from them with a media filter,” DiLorenzo said on KODI, adding, “We’re not flyover country, and we shouldn’t be taken for granted by any political party or anyone.”

He said he asked for and got a pledge of support from the Wyoming Republican Party at a Nov. 14 meeting of the GOP’s leaders.

“The Republican party’s not making any efforts to bring these presidential candidates to Wyoming, but the Big Horn Basin TEA Party is, and we’ve had some success: We have Ben Carson coming,” DiLorenzo recalled telling the GOP’s state central committee.

A few Republican contenders have already made appearances in the state.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, visited Cheyenne and Casper in August, while U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, stopped by Cheyenne about a week later. (The Big Horn Basin TEA Party, meanwhile, hosted Cruz’s father Rafael at an Aug. 15 picnic in Emblem.)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also spoke in Cheyenne last month in a campaign stop/fundraiser for the Wyoming Liberty Group, but he dropped out of the presidential race the next day.


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