WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Sen. Rick Santorum is taking the next step toward a presidential bid.
Santorum on Tuesday said he had established a presidential exploratory committee and would participate in Thursday's debate in South Carolina, an early presidential nominating state. The Pennsylvania Republican previously had filed a preliminary committee with the Federal Election Commission.
Establishing the presidential exploratory committee allows Santorum to raise and spend money but requires him to disclose his donors.
Santorum, who lost a bruising re-election bid in 2006, has been busy visiting the traditional early nominating states and hiring staff. He has laid the groundwork for a presidential bid but says he isn't yet declaring a White House run.
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