Ben Carson, darling of the conservative crowd, has launched an exploratory committee, sending off the strongest signs yet that he’s going to run for the White House in 2016.

The establishment of the committee means Carson can now raise money that could then be transferred to his possible campaign.

Carson, a former neurosurgeon who was thrust into the national political spotlight when he criticized President Obama at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast – as Obama and his wife sat just feet away – has also recently hired several people seen as key campaign officials, including a national finance director, Reuters reported.

Previously, Carson has stated that he will announce his decision on the presidency in May.

This past weekend, he came in fourth at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll behind Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

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