WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Ben Carson is officially a Republican again, and he's unofficially running for president.
The conservative physician switched his political affiliation back from independent to the GOP on Election Day, and made no effort to hide the reason why.
"It's truly a pragmatic move because I have to run in one party or another. If you run as an independent, you only risk splitting the electorate," Carson told The Washington Times Tuesday, after making the change. "I clearly would not be welcome in the Democratic Party, and so that only leaves one party. Fortunately, the fit is pretty good."
Carson, the Johns Hopkins surgeon known for his work separating conjoined twins, made waves at the 2013 National Prayer breakfast with a speech criticizing President Obama while the president sat just feet away.
He grew up a Democrat, but was inspired by President Reagan to join the Republican Party. By the time the GOP Congress impeached President Clinton, he said, he was left with a "sour taste" and left the Republicans too.
Carson, 63, has made no secret of his presidential ambitions, although in September, he said he wasn't planning on making a formal announcement one way or the other until May.
For now, he'll concentrate on introducing himself to the country. Sometime this weekend, a 40-minute advertisement will air in 22 states and Washington, D.C., detailing his biography and personal life, from a childhood in Detroit to his four decades at Hopkins.
"A Breath of Fresh Air: A New Prescription for America" was filmed and paid for by the production company run by conservative commentator Armstrong Williams, who is also paying for airtime, and aide told ABC. Williams is Carson's business manager.