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Gingrich Could Skip Exploratory Committee

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Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks, as he kicks off three days of policy workshops, at the Cobb Galleria Centre, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Fox News has learned that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may bypass the exploratory committee phase of a presidential campaign and formally announce his candidacy in early May.

Under Federal Election Committee rules a candidate who wants to "test the waters" for the presidency may file paperwork with the government in order to legally raise and spend money on a POSSIBLE campaign.

It is not mandatory because candidates may simply "announce" their candidacy and file paper work as a full blown candidate.

Gingrich aides several weeks ago had intended to file for an exploratory committee but changed course and instead announced a web page for the purposes of exploring an exploratory committee. Insiders now say Gingrich may instead jump into the race in early May as a fully announced candidate.

Carl Cameron currently serves as Fox News Channel's (FNC) Washington-based chief political correspondent. He joined FNC in 1996 as a correspondent.