In what may be the final precursor to the launch of a formal GOP presidential campaign, Jon Huntsman has created a federal political action committee that enables him to begin laying the groundwork for a White House bid.
The move, confirmed Tuesday afternoon by spokesman Tim Miller, is expected to be the final step before a formal announcement, which could come by early summer. Huntsman will not form a presidential exploratory committee, as several other Republican contenders have done, according to Miller.
The federal PAC supplements two state-level PACs already established in Utah and New Hampshire, where supporters have been quietly setting the table for a potential run.
Formal coordination with Huntsman was not allowed while he was serving as ambassador, a position he left last week. But now Huntsman is free to engage in political activities.
He already has booked speaking engagements in the key primary states of South Carolina and New Hampshire, where he will make college commencement addresses in the coming weeks.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.