WASHINGTON -- After distancing himself from the possibility of a presidential campaign, former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon turned author and Fox News contributor Ben Carson is sending new signals that he may seek the GOP nomination in 2016 after all.
Carson is set to speak next week on foreign policy at a conference of conservatives in Washington, has created a federal fundraising committee and has received considerable attention for telling a conservative talk show host on Monday that the "likelihood is strong" he will run -- depending on the outcome of the November midterm elections.
"Unless the American people indicate in November that they like big government intervention in every part of their lives, I think the likelihood is strong," Carson told radio host Hugh Hewitt, adding that he would decide by May. "I think the chances are reasonably good of that happening."
Carson, 63, was thrust into the political spotlight last year when he used an address at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington to criticize the Affordable Care Act in the presence of President Barack Obama. He has since written two best-selling books.
Despite speculation about his political future, growing admiration among conservatives and a "Draft Ben Carson" movement, the Detroit native had largely demurred when asked about politics. He told the Christian Post last year that it would take an "act of God" for him to run.
"We all feel the same way," he said of his family at the time, "and that's I have no interest in running for political office."
Soon after he told CNBC he was more interested in appearing on television than in getting into politics.
But potential candidates are often coy when asked about their future and Carson -- who started his own political action committee last month -- has performed well in a series of conservative straw polls. He was also tops among potential GOP candidates in a poll of Maryland voters conducted by The Baltimore Sun in February, taking 24 percent.
Carson is set to address a national security summit in Washington on Monday organized by Breitbart News and EMPAct America, a group focused on electromagnetic pulse damage from an attack or natural causes.