Tea Party favorite Ben Carson says he’s nearing a decision on whether he’ll run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
“I will announce before … May the 1st,” Carson said in a Friday interview with Newsmax TV, reported by BuzzFeed. “I would just say that I am listening extremely carefully. I don’t want to do something that the American people do not want me to do.”
Strategists believe Carson could electrify grassroots conservatives in early-voting states like Iowa and South Carolina but doubt he will have the financial resources or broad appeal to make it to the end.
He'll fight with candidates like Huckabee and Cruz, should they decide to run, for the support of the conservative base that turns out in force during the primaries.
Carson on Friday suggested he was leaning toward running.
“Our system was designed for the people, it wasn’t designed for career politicians,” he said. “So I’m taking it very seriously, listening to people, and I will make a decision in a few months.”
Carson is a former neurosurgeon and has never held elected office. He could run as a Washington outsider at a time when Congress's approval rating is near an all-time low.
“I continue to study the issues and familiarize myself with things to the same degree I try to with medicine,” he said. “You have to know a lot of stuff, there’s no question about that, but I’m rapidly acquiring that knowledge, listening to people and really finding a tremendous amount of frustration with the status quo, politics as usual, be it Republican or Democrat.”
Carson has made some moves that indicate he’s ramping up for a potential run.
In December, Carson visited Israel on a “private fact-finding mission.” It’s a trip many potential candidates make to show support for a key U.S. ally and to beef up their foreign policy bona fides.
Carson will speak at the Iowa Freedom Summit hosted by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) next month alongside a slew of other potential GOP contenders.