So, what’s behind Carson’s rise to the top tier?
The candidate is not the most eloquent in the Republican field, nor does he have the most experience or money. But in a campaign that has so far revolved around Donald Trump, Ben Carson brings to the table much of what Trump is – a Washington outsider, not a politician, authentic and genuine -- without the bombast and spectacle.
Carson is currently campaigning in Arizona, where he drew one of the largest crowds of the election cycle last night at the Phoenix Convention Center -- estimated at 12,000 people, according to his campaign. ABC News has not independently verified these numbers.
His campaign says his recent success is a product of the way he is aggressively reaching out to all Americans with his authenticity and speaking style.
So what makes Ben Carson more forthcoming and plain-spoken than the rest of the pack? He never prepares remarks. But will this change with his increased popularity and with more people watching? His campaign says no.
“I can’t imagine that would be the case. Will there be a time when he actually has prepared remarks? It’s possible. When he has a speech written out in advance? It is possible,” Bass said. “But it certainly won’t change the things that he wants to talk about, his mannerisms or his delivery style.”
And the polls show it’s working: GOP voters picked Carson as the most likable candidate in a new Fox News poll out Sunday. The neurosurgeon led the pack with 19 percent of GOP voters, with Trump close behind. When asked who was the least likable candidate, a plurality of GOP voters chose Trump. How many picked Carson? Less than one percent.
This tweet from ABC News -- featuring a quote from Carson’s closing statement -- was the most retweeted media tweet of the first GOP debate, according to Twitter.
“When I take someone to the operating room, I’m operating on the thing that makes them who they are,” he said. “The skin doesn’t make them who they are.” He continued: Those that want to divide us, we shouldn’t let them do it.”
And his closing remarks were not prepared. “Some people think that his closing remarks [debate] were prepared. That wasn’t the case. He was waiting for his turn. The Lord kinda told him what to say. It wasn’t at all prepared,” Bass told ABC News. “His performance in the debate certainly introduced him to a larger audience. People were impressed, it was refreshing. It was really a breath of fresh air.”
Despite the minimal airtime, Carson was the second-most talked about candidate on Facebook and Twitter and was the second-most searched candidate on Google -- all behind Donald Trump -- the night of the debate.