Politics

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson urged Kentucky Republicans on Monday to choose a “calm” alternative — himself — in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, drawing a contrast to frontrunner Donald Trump.

Carson spoke in Lexington in advance of the Kentucky Republican presidential caucus on Saturday. He said people who are fearful and angry about the state of affairs in Washington, D.C., and the Middle East need to check their emotions.

“Typically people who are frightened and angry do not make good decisions,” Carson said. “It’s very important that we calm down and actually start thinking logically.”

Carson hinted, but wouldn’t say explicitly, that Trump is catering to that fear and anger.

Polls show Trump with major leads in most of the 13 Republican primaries that will take place on Tuesday, though Sen. Ted Cruz has the lead in his home state of Texas.

Carson is still predicted to take between 8 and 9 percent of the vote in those contests, as is Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Despite his standing in the polls, Carson said he has momentum because voters are warming up to his relaxed disposition.

“People are being able to get a much better look at the candidates and compare them side by side and say who has the policies and who has the temperament and who acts presidential and who acts like something else,” Carson said.

Before a crowd of hundreds at a Lexington gymnasium, Carson talked about having to overcome anger when he grew up in poverty in Detroit.

He also touted his many awards, including a Presidential Medal of Freedom and 67 honorary doctorates, “more than all the other candidates put together.”

Carson also criticized the Democratic candidates’ proposed solutions for income inequality.

“Along comes Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders talking about the income gap and those evil rich people. And if we just take their money we can solve this problem,” Carson said.

“It’s not the evil rich people. It’s the evil government.”

Carson criticized the government for its debt and for over-regulating private industries.

In a nod to Kentuckians who oppose carbon regulations, Carson said that the Environmental Protection Agency should be “reoriented.”

“Instead of somebody with their boot on everybody’s neck, they should be working with business industry academia and the ag business to find the cleanest, most environmentally friendly way to exploit our resources, including coal,” Carson said.

Kentuckians who registered as Republicans before the end of 2015 can vote in the Kentucky Republican presidential caucus on Saturday. The five candidates still officially running are Carson, Trump, Cruz, Kasich and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives.