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.
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.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.