01/16/2015 12:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Tea Party Leader Joins Prospective Ben Carson Presidential Campaign

Mike Stone via Getty Images

A tea party leader from Iowa, a key state in the presidential elections, is joining conservative neurosurgeon Ben Carson's prospective 2016 campaign.

Carson will launch an exploratory committee in the next few weeks and has hired political operative Ryan Rhodes to oversee campaign operations in Iowa, The Iowa Republican reports.

According to The Hill, Rhodes joined Carson's efforts after talking to other potential Republican presidential candidates, including Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

"I'm joining team Carson," Rhodes told The Hill. "I'm going to be working with his American Legacy [PAC] stuff. If he decides to move forward on a presidential bid, I'd love to see that happen and I'll be part of that effort."

Rhodes endorsed former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and served as her tea party outreach director in Iowa before she dropped out of the 2012 presidential race.

Carson has had a strong showing in recent polling of potential 2016 GOP candidates. HuffPost Pollster has him trailing only behind 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush:

Carson unofficially threw his hat in the ring the weekend after the 2014 midterm elections, when a documentary about the doctor funded and filmed by a production company owned by Carson's business manager Armstrong Williams aired in 22 states and Washington, D.C.



Potential 2016 Presidential Contenders