Santorum gathering top backers in DC
© Greg Nash

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is gathering a group of prominent one-time supporters in Washington, D.C. next week.

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Santorum will host a private meeting with top former staff and some Washington power players who once worked for his Senate office or backed his presidential campaign on Jan. 13.

"As you probably know, RJS is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016," Santorum adviser Matt Beynon wrote in an email obtained by CNN, referring to Santorum by his initials.

"With the midterms and the new year behind us, he is beginning the final stages of preparation and consideration of another campaign."

Santorum has been viewed as a likely presidential contender ever since his surprise successes in the 2012 race. His moves may be spurred somewhat by recent activity by other presidential heavy hitters. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) quit his Fox News show over the weekend in order to more seriously weigh a campaign of his own, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) announced last month he was "actively exploring" a bid.

Huckabee and Santorum appeal to the same type of blue-collar, religious conservative voters and could cut into one another's base if they both run.