Ben Carson fans flock from near and far to see GOP presidential frontrunner

GOP presidential front-runner Ben Carson attracted more than 1,200 fans Monday afternoon to Barnes & Noble at Lake Sumter Landing as he made a stop on his book tour. Last year, Carson’s book signing event for “One Nation” drew at least 800 people at the bookstore in The Villages.

Putting his campaign on hold, Carson is touring portions of the country in support of his book, “A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties,” stopping in 38 cities.

Monica Stahley shoots a photo of Ben Carson upon his arrival.
Monica Stahley shoots a photo of Ben Carson upon his arrival.

Those attending the book signing ranged from local Villagers to fans from distant areas.

Monica and Paul Stahley left their home in Winter Park around 4 a.m. and arrived at Barnes & Noble at 5 a.m. to obtain wristbands for the anticipated event.

“He has good values, good points,” said Monica as she and Paul waited in line to get their book signed.

Watch video of Carson’s visit here:

Spencer Hill shows off the book autographed by Ben Carson.
Spencer Hill shows off the book autographed by Ben Carson.

Ohio native Spencer Hill traveled all the way from Columbus to his mother’s house in The Villages after hearing that Carson was making an appearance in the Villages. The film “Gifted Hands” served as inspiration and motivation for Hill as he dealt with anger issues after the death of his sixth grade best friend. The movie starred Cuba Gooding Jr. and told the story of Carson’s life.

On Monday, Hill finally had the opportunity to meet the presidential hopeful face to face.

“It was really great seeing him,” said Hill.

Janice Morales with her mother, Chede McKinney.
Janice Morales with her mother, Chede McKinney.

Joining her mother, Chede McKinney, was Janice Morales of the Village of Gilchrist. The mother and daughter were excited to see their favorite candidate in person.

“He’s the only one who can fix America,” said McKinney,  after expressing her fears about the loss of morals in America.

Proudly hailing from Puerto Rico, McKinney said, “I can say that Puerto Rico loves Ben Carson!”

In the middle of signing books, Carson took a short break to briefly answer questions from the press. Carson fielded questions concerning his position in recent polls, his plans on health care, and his abilities should he be elected president despite his lack of political experience.

Ben Carson fields questions from the media.
Ben Carson fields questions from the media.

“I think I have a good understanding of what it is that people are looking for. We want some integrity. We want some truth. We don’t want just political expediency,” Carson told reporters.

After taking a few questions, the popular GOP candidate returned to his podium and continued signing the rest of the attendants’ books with a smile until he left for his next stop in Kissimmee.

Yolande 'Yo' Kneue did a little Hula Hooping for the crowd at the Ben Carson event.
Yolande ‘Yo’ Kneue did a little Hula Hooping for the crowd at the Ben Carson event.
Frank Cox was thrilled to get a photo autographed by Ben Carson.
Frank Cox was thrilled to get a photo autographed by Ben Carson. The black-and-white photo was of Cox with Carson at his 2014 appearance in The Villages.
Ben Carson signed hundreds of books Monday before tour organizers had to shut down the line.
Ben Carson signed hundreds of books Monday before tour organizers had to shut down the line.
Ben Carson arrived at Barnes & Noble on this tour bus.
Ben Carson arrived at Barnes & Noble on this tour bus.