WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson told a Florida television station on Sunday that he is running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
“I’m willing to be part of the equation and, therefore, I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States of America,” Carson said in an interview with CBS affiliate WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Carson, 63, who is popular with the conservative Tea Party movement, is expected to formally declare his candidacy at an event in Detroit on Monday.
He would be the first African-American to enter the growing Republican field for the party’s presidential nomination next year.
“Many people have suggested to me that I should run for president, even though I’m not a politician,” said Carson, who has never before sought elective office.
The first doctor to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head, Carson developed a conservative following in 2013 after he advocated a flat tax, private medical savings accounts and other conservative policies at a National Prayer Breakfast speech that was attended by President Barack Obama.
Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky have already entered the Republican presidential race.
Former Hewlett Packard Co Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina is expected to declare her candidacy in an online announcement on Monday. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will make an announcement on Tuesday about his plans. He also ran for the nomination in 2008.
Other potential Republican candidates include former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Among Democrats, former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considered the front-runner for the party’s presidential nomination. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont entered the Democratic race last week.
Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Paul Simao and Phil Berlowitz