Ben Carson Books

Photo - The organization of Carson's supporters helped him win the Southern Republican Leadership Conference's straw poll in Oklahoma City. (AP)The organization of Carson's supporters helped him win the Southern Republican Leadership...

If Ben Carson maintains his perch atop national polls of Republican voters he will likely owe a debt of gratitude that he can never repay to Carson-aligned super political action committees.

Super PACs have a bad reputation. Activists who are critical of the influence of money in politics view the groups as the shadowy foundations behind long-established candidates that collect big bucks from wealthy donors. But they can have a profound impact on races involving lesser-known candidates who subsist on grassroots support.

John Philip Sousa IV, great grandson of the legendary American composer, chaired the committee and changed its name to "The 2016 Committee" to abide by FEC rules in advance of Carson's campaign announcement.

Sousa told the Washington Examiner conversations about drafting Ben Carson started in June 2013, after Carson criticized President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast. Earlier this month, The 2016 Committee brought in Sam Pimm as its executive director.

Pimm met with the Washington Examiner at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C., and detailed an unusual strategy underway to raise Carson's name ID: He plans to distribute at least 150, 000 copies of Sousa's book "Ben Carson Rx for America" at events around the country and holds screenings of "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, " which features Cuba Gooding Jr. as Dr. Carson.

Pimm, a former director of field operations in New Hampshire for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's 2012 presidential campaign, said he thinks the upside is much higher for Carson than Gingrich and that he wants Carson to put together a coalition of voters who typically do not vote.

"We're talking about what's going to win New Hampshire and I think if anybody gets 20 percent out of New Hampshire, they're probably walking away with it, " Pimm said. "But if you made me bet on where we're going to break through I would either say Iowa or South Carolina."

He said his volunteer base is growing exponentially and currently tops 30, 000 individuals who knock on doors and canvass political gatherings. The super PAC raised more than $13.5 million in 2014 — and spent almost all of it — but has decided not to purchase any television or radio advertising spots thus far for 2016.

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