Conservative Ben Carson packs house at Villages Barnes & Noble

Marion County Commission Chairman Carl Zalak and his family are photographed with Ben Carson.
Marion County Commission Chairman Carl Zalak and his family are photographed with Ben Carson.

In their most recent appearances at Barnes & Noble at Lake Sumter Landing, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin drew modest crowds.

On Sunday, Ben Carson drew a packed house with the book store’s parking lot taking on a circus-like atmosphere.

There were signs urging, “Run Ben Run,” and a petition was being passed for a 2016 presidential run. There were tents and RVs.

Could it be evidence that Cheney and Palin are the political stars of the past and that Carson could be the star of tomorrow?

Marion County Commission Chairman Carl Zalak brought his wife and three young children to Barnes & Noble for the Carson book-signing event. Dressed in their Sunday finest, the children patiently stood in the long line that snaked in and out of the many bookshelves in the store.

“He has a platform that could change the dialogue in this country,” Zalak said.

Villager Shirley Moore has her photo taken with Ben Carson.
Villager Shirley Moore has her photo taken with Ben Carson.

Shirley Moore of the Village of Springdale said Carson has a special appeal.

“He has the basic values that could get our country back on track,” she said.

Book buyers had such a ravenous appetite that Barnes & Noble actually sold out of Carson’s latest book, “One Nation.”

“We went on to his bus to get some more copies,” said Barnes & Noble store manager Becky Boldizar.

The neurosurgeon first gained national attention when Cuba Gooding Jr. played him in the television movie, “Gifted Hands.”

Since then Carson has enjoyed a rise to prominence and now is a familiar face on television.

Villager Jean Brewer, known for her line dancing, began working the parking lot at 6 a.m., gathering signatures on a petition for a Carson presidential run.

“He’s just what we need,” she said.

Villager Jean Brewer passes a petition for a Ben Carson presidential run.
Villager Jean Brewer passes a petition for a Ben Carson presidential run.

 

Villages Republicans set up a tent in the Barnes & Noble parking lot.
Villages Republicans set up a tent in the Barnes & Noble parking lot.
Jeremy, Jameson and Rick Falls, from left, of Citrus Springs had a message for Ben Carson.
Jeremy, Jameson and Rick Falls, from left, of Citrus Springs had a message for Ben Carson.