Tea Party darling Ben CarsonBen CarsonGovernment indoctrination, whether 'critical' or 'patriotic,' is wrong Noem takes pledge to restore 'patriotic education' in schools Watchdog blames Puerto Rico hurricane relief delays on Trump-era bureaucracy MORE is launching a formal presidential exploratory committee, he announced in a new video posted to his website Tuesday.

"If I believe that I have your support and your commitment to help, I will run for president to lead this great country to a brighter future," he said in the video.


"If I run, it will be because I know the very survival of our great country depends on strong leadership to address our real concerns about security, about jobs, about America's standing in the world."

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

Carson is the first serious candidate to launch an exploratory committee, the first official step toward a bid for president. The move allows him to start directly fundraising for a potential bid. Potential candidates informally use their political action committees as the first trappings of a campaign.

By filing with the Federal Election Commission, Carson can cut out the middle man and start raising money and make staffing decisions for what would become his eventual campaign.

Carson and any other potential candidate has to declare their candidacy if they hit certain thresholds, by FEC rules.

Potential candidates can’t raise more than “reasonably required for exploratory activities,” begin heavily campaigning, advertise their intention to run or actively seek a spot on the ballot. If they do, they must announce as a candidate.

While the retired neurosurgeon has never held elected office, he’s regularly placed near the top of many presidential polls. He placed fourth in last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll and has averaged a fourth place finish in a Real Clear Politics average of national polls.

— This report was updated at 10:04 a.m.