Paul Announces Exploratory Committee and Iowa Team

Texas Republican Representative Ron Paul is one step closer to jumping into the 2012 presidential fray. Today in Iowa he announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee.

That doesn't mean he's running for sure-that just means he's exploring the idea. This comes on the heels of an announcement a couple weeks ago that he created a "testing the waters" account, essentially positioning himself to be able to smoothly transfer funds to a Presidential campaign, should he, in fact, decide to run.

Paul says the country has changed and a campaign in 2012 could be different from the one he ran back in 2008.

"I believe there are literally millions more concerned about the things I talked about four years ago, and they're concerned about the economy, they're worried that conditions are deteriorating, and the very things I talked about are the most important," Paul said. "It is the excessive spending, the entitlement system, the foreign policy as well as the monetary system. And the number of people who have become aware of this is growing tremendously, and they're evident around the country. So it's the anticipation that it will me a more significant campaign, if it comes to a campaign announcement, when that comes about."

Paul seems to be exploring a run pretty seriously. He's been to Iowa three times in April.

Today, in announcing his exploratory committee, Paul also talked about the team that will lead his Iowa organization.

The chairman is Drew Ivers, who also chaired Paul's last presidential go-round in Iowa back in 2008. Ivers' political roots reach back as far as Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential bid when he was a district chairman.

Another top dog will be vice-Chairman David Fischer, an energy industry businessman who's been active in Polk County GOP politics and is also a big home school advocate in Iowa.

Rounding out the team is Vice-Chairman A.J. Spiker, a realtor who's been chairman, co-chairman and treasurer of the Story County Republican Party. All three men have been active in Paul's Campaign for Liberty, a non-profit political group.

When will Paul stop exploring and formally enter the race? He's said a final decision will come in the next couple of weeks, which is starting to look like a decision that will come after the first GOP debate on May 5th.

That's also when Paul plans another one of his "money bombs," which he hopes will net a burst of campaign cash over the internet during a short period of time. His last appeal raised more than $700,000 in 24 hours.