For a brief moment in 2015 (RIP), Ben Carson seemed like an actual force within the laughably large field of Republican presidential hopefuls. That force, of course, was fueled largely by self-fabricated chunks of his own political narrative and some downright Trump-level remarks of baffling societal incompetence. As the differences between Ben Carson, the surgeon running for president, and Ben Carson, the actual person, started to make themselves striking clear, the campaign started to show signs of eventual fracture.

On Thursday, Carson lost several top aides ahead of the dawn of a contentious election year, the New York Times reports. Barry Bennett, Carson's now-former campaign manager, and spokesperson Doug Watts exit just as Carson continues to slide in the polls. Lisa Cohen, Carson's deputy campaign manager, announced her own departure shortly after the initial shake-up was revealed. "I am deeply concerned about the campaign's ability to move forward successfully without them," Cohen told the Des Moines Register.

"Barry Bennett and I have resigned from the Carson campaign effective immediately," Watts said in a joint statement to NBC News. "We respect the candidate and we have enjoyed helping him go from far back in the field to top tier status. Having just announced raising $23m(illion) for the 4th Q(uarter), more than any other Republican candidate, and passing 1 million contributions and over 600 mm unique donors since March, we are proud of our efforts for Dr. Carson and we wish him and his campaign the best of luck."

The move is apparently of little surprise to those familiar with the campaign, with sources telling NBC the apparent "acrimony" is likely the work of Armstrong Williams. The recent dip in polls is also considered merely a "self-inflicted wound" at the hand of Williams, a close friend of Carson's. Carson, pictured above leaning against all that is presumably left of his campaign, has not issued a comment on the exits of Bennett, Watts, and Cohen.