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Ben Carson formally exploring run for president

WASHINGTON -- Retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has become a star among conservative Republicans, announced Tuesday he is formally exploring a run for president in 2016.

Carson is among the first to take the step of setting up a formal exploratory committee that would allow him to raise money in preparation for a run — and to transfer some of that money to his campaign if he ultimately decides to get in.

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Carson quickly developed a national following after criticizing President Barack Obama's health care law at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

Carson, who is 63, retired from Hopkins in 2013 after a distinguished career in neurosurgery. At 33, he was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at Hopkins — the youngest person to lead a major division at the institution. He won international acclaim in 1987 when he became the first surgeon to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head.

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The move quelled speculation Monday that Carson might run for the Senate seat being left open by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. Carson moved to Florida after retiring from Hopkins, but he still owns a home in Maryland.

He has previously said he will make a decision about whether to run by May.

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