Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has created an exploratory committee to run for president, becoming the first high-profile Republican candidate to formally enter the 2016 presidential contest.
Carson, the only African-American expected to enter the race, rose to national prominence after criticizing President Barack Obama's health care law at the 2013 National Prayer breakfast. He quickly developed a loyal following among the GOP's most conservative voters.
"Obviously, this is a very big step," committee chairman Terry Giles said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Today we begin the formal process of exploring whether or not Ben can win the presidency."