Ben Carson offered up an optimistic outlook on the Republican Party’s relationship with minorities on Saturday, telling the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa, "I think there's a lot of people who are waking up.”

"I met with a group of black pastors yesterday and people are waking up in droves," he said, according to The Hill. "I think they're realizing what's been happening here."

Carson went on to detail his own journey to conservatism, despite growing up in a more liberal environment.

"I started listening to Ronald Reagan,” he said, recalling how surprised he was to find that conservatives were not as ghoulish as he had been taught to believe.

President Obama won 93 percent of the black vote in 2012. In the Republican National Committee's "autopsy" report following the election, party leaders emphasized the need for minority outreach.

"We are never going to win over voters who are not asked for their support," they wrote. "Too many African American voters have gotten in the habit of supporting Democrats without hearing anyone in their community making a case to the contrary."