After what's being hailed as an "overwhelming response from the people of Arizona," Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is moving the location of his rally Tuesday night.
The event originally was going to be held in the Grace Community Church in Tempe, which can hold about 2,300 people but now will be in a large hall in the Phoenix Convention Center that can hold about 7,550. It's unclear exactly how many people have RSVPd, but Breitbart News is reporting that more than 4,500 tickets have been issued, so it's probably safe to say it'll be a packed house.
(The Carson campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Carson, the former pediatric neurosurgeon turned GOP presidential candidate, saw a massive jump in his ratings after the first GOP presidential debate. A recent Fox News poll shows he's won 12 percent of registered Republican voters — he was at 7 percent before the debate.
He champions himself as the non-politician candidate, and according to his campaign website is "unabashedly and entirely pro-life," wants to "keep our detention facility at Gitmo open," and is staunchly for Second Amendment rights.
Despite his surging poll numbers, Carson has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for statements he made about Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive services in the United States. Carson accused the nonprofit of targeting minority women as part of greater eugenics plan — this old rumor again was debunked by media outlets last week — and has called for Congress to cut off funding after the release of a series of highly edited videos purportedly showed Planned Parenthood officials talking about selling fetal tissue.
When it surfaced that Carson had used fetal tissue in past neuroscience research, he defended his past by arguing it was a totally different situation — "killing babies and harvesting tissue for sale is very different than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it, which is exactly the source of the tissue used in our research," he said.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Whether he addresses these issues or sticks to a more general stump speech remains to be seen.
And, who knows, with a campaign slogan like "heal, inspire, revive," maybe there will be yoga?
If you want to attend the rally, you can register for free tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dr-carson-arizona-rally-tickets-18160331039?aff=efbnreg
**Update 8/18/15: An earlier version of this story said the room Carson rented in the Convention Center could hold 6,000. The fire marshall has currently set capacity at 7,550.