Former neurosurgeon and Republican candidate for the nomination for president Ben Carson has suspended his bid for 2016. He told conservative political action activists that he was now ready to “leave the campaign trail.”

Speaking at a conference in the nations capital, Washington, DC, Carson said there were a lot of people who “loved” him, but not enough who would “vote for” him.

Carson transcended a poor upbringing in Detroit to reach Yale before becoming a successful doctor, and had performed well in the early running for the nomination. Recently, though, questions were raised after his poor showing in debates on foreign affairs and reported admissions on his personal background.

Carson had garnered just eight delegates in the time leading up to the announcement, less than 11% in any one primary or caucus. The 64-year-old political outsider had galvanised support last year with his inspirational story and deeply-held religious convictions.

On Friday Mr Carson announced he would be taking up the position of chairman for Christian organisation My Faith Votes. Carson has spoken on record of how he believes the Christian voters of the US could “easily determine” the next US president.

For the remaining contenders, the battle continues. So-called Super Saturday sees Republican voters in the four states of Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine go to the polling booths.

Democrat leader Hillary Rodham Clinton is looking to extend her lead over rival Bernie Sanders. Billionaire real-estate mogul Donald Trump is looking to do likewise for the Republicans.

On Thursday evening, during a televised debate, Mr Trump’s main rivals – Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz – launched concerted attacks against him. Rubio called Trump “untrustworthy” and “uncivil.”

Cruz pointed to the fact that Trump had donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign of 2008. Both pointed to his many business failures.