Opening a new stage in the embryonic race for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., Thursday took a critical step toward formally entering the contest.
Dole, who has led national surveys testing support among Republicans for the 1996 nomination, filed papers with the Federal Election Commission establishing a presidential exploratory committee that will allow him to immediately begin raising money for the presidential race. Presidential candidates routinely form such committees as a prelude to formally joining the race.
Dole indicated he would not announce a final decision on whether to seek the nomination until late March or early April. But in an interview , Dole added: “I don’t see anything that would preclude the next step.”