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Did Ben Carson's desire for clean clothes cost him votes?

It all began with the news that neurosurgeon Ben Carson was cutting the night of the Iowa caucuses short to head home. Carson said he merely needed to get a "fresh change of clothes," but he is alleging that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign used "dirty tricks" during the GOP caucuses to snatch up some of his supporters at the last minute.

In his remarks Monday night, Carson said he was "reasonably happy" until he discovered "the dirty tricks that were going on."

"We have seen the tweets that have come out and said that I was suspending my campaign efforts and that people should be thinking about maybe their second choice, and this was before the caucuses were over," he told reporters in more detail. "That is really quite a dirty trick and you know that's the very kind of thing that irritated me and enough to get into this quagmire, to see if somehow we can bring some integrity to the process."

Carson's campaign cited an email Cruz's campaign sent to their supporters that read, "The press is reporting that Dr. Ben Carson is taking time off from the campaign trail after Iowa and making a big announcement next week. Please inform any Carson caucus goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz."

His campaign staff also claimed that Cruz surrogates at the various caucus sites told Carson's supporters he was dropping out.

Carson told reporters that the news "could have a pretty big effect" on the results. But he said he wants his supporters to know that the incident "makes me more determined than ever to keep going."

He finished in fourth place in the caucus with 9 percent of the vote, more than 20,000 votes behind third-place finisher Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

As for his plans going forward?

"I'm actually gonna go home and get a fresh change of clothes. And that doesn't mean you're suspending your campaign, it doesn't mean that you're bowing out," he told reporters. He plans to attend the National Prayer Breakfast and then continue campaigning in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.