Hollywood Conservative Buzz Builds For Ben Carson As GOP Contender Surges In Polls

“You’re talking about a guy who grew up in blue-collar Michigan and who wound up going to Yale,” a Republican insider tells TheWrap. “This is like a Hallmark special”

Hollywood conservatives are watching with intrigue and skepticism as Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson rises in the polls to challenge frontrunner Donald Trump.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Carson, a neurosurgeon who’s never held office before, in second place in the wide GOP field after Trump. A Monmouth University survey of Iowa Republicans on Monday show Carson tied with the real-estate mogul, while a Des Moines Register and Bloomberg poll had both candidates running neck and neck within the poll’s margin of error.

As of now, two Hollywood A-listers have publicly thrown their support behind Carson. Roger McGuinn, former lead singer and guitarist for The Byrds, gave $1,000 to the Carson campaign. And Kid Rock announced earlier this year that he supports Carson, but did not donate in the second quarter.

“Hollywood folks want to make sure that they back the right horse,” Ford O’Connell, Republican strategist and adviser to John McCain in 2008, told TheWrap. “Ben Carson is someone who would be a formidable opponent against Hillary Clinton just because of his story.”

But it’s his medical background that could be his biggest asset when it comes to potential donors in the entertainment industry.

“Healthcare is such an important issue among folks in Hollywood,” O’Connell said. “Carson is seen as someone who could right the ship of Obamacare. He’s been the head of John Hopkins and has spent his whole life in medicine he knows best how to fix it.”

The fact that he’s the only African-American in the GOP primary race is also a plus for showbiz bigwigs. “There’s an undercurrent in among Hollywood conservatives who are sick and tired of the Republican Party being seen as being anti-minority,” O’Connell said. “Carson is someone that they love who also happens to be black.”

Read more from Itay Hod at The Wrap

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