California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter established an exploratory committee Friday for his long-shot presidential bid.

Hunter, who is serving his 14th term in the House, announced his intention to run last October and has been visiting early primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He plans a formal declaration later this month in South Carolina.

The creation of the exploratory committee allows him to raise money and organize supporters.

Hunter chaired the House Armed Services Committee until the Republicans lost control of the House last November. He is little known outside Congress.

The San Diego lawmaker is a strong foe of illegal immigration and favors a U.S.-Mexico border fence.

"America needs a way ahead in the ongoing war against terrorists and a policy of economic opportunity, with a reaffirmation of faith in the principles of our founding," he said.