On conventional terms, Ben Carson’s cosplaying as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination was a failure, with the 9% of the Iowa caucus vote almost certainly the peak. On its own terms, however, it was highly successful:
In the final three months of 2015, the Carson campaign paid:
$4,769,922.68 to Eleventy Marketing Group. Eleventy Marketing Group’s president is Ken Dawson, who is also Carson’s chief marketing officer.
$2,871,229.50 to TMA Direct. TMA’s president and CEO is Mike Murray, who is also Carson’s senior advisor for grassroots marketing.
$1,256,436.09 to Communication Manager Source, which is run by Joanne Parker, wife of the aforementioned Dean Parker.
$138,666.06 to Vita Capital. Vita Capital’s CEO is Dean Parker.
That’s over $9 million siphoned directly to companies owned by Carson staffers, out of a total of $27 million spent by the campaign in that time. A great deal of the campaign’s expenditures went to marketing, which completes the cycle by bringing even more money into the Carson campaign.
Viewed correctly as a front designed to transfer money from rubes to various marketing executives, the Carson “campaign” was a massive success.