JACKSON, Mich. – Polls show Dr. Ben Carson is surging in the race for the Republican nomination.
His campaign says fundraising is up. The Michigan native's message is resonating with Republican voters.
During Carson's trip back to his home state of Michigan on Wednesday, he was met by an enthusiastic crowd at Spring Arbor University, which is about 90 miles away from where he grew up in Detroit.
When Carson joined this now crowded Republican field in the spring, his chances seemed like a long shot. He has never held a political office, but polls show the retired doctor is a strong contender for the nomination.
Being seen as outsider is working to his benefit. With the surge in the polls, Carson is facing the heat that comes along with frontrunner status: every word is being parsed through. However, he is promising not to retreat from his convictions with the added attention and controversy.
This visit comes as Carson is facing backlash over his comments about Islam and the White House. He said he wouldn't want a Muslim to be president. Now, he is clarifying his remarks.
"I said, anybody, and that includes any religion, who lives according to American values and principles and is willing to put our Constitution above their religious ideology is acceptable to me," said Carson.
Carson also addressed the Syrian refugee crisis. He said resettling refugees in the U.S. could put Americans at risk.
"If you have a global jihadist movement and they want to destroy America and all of our values, and they see a beautiful vehicle to infiltrate and bring their people in here, is it possible that we could have at least a modicum of intelligence to recognize that?" he said.
He also talked race and why the history of the Republican party should appeal more to minority voters.