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Longtime Portman adviser to work for possible 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson

Jack Torry in our Washington Bureau is reporting that Barry Bennett, a longtime adviser to Sen. Rob Portman, will be named Wednesday to head the presidential exploratory committee of Ben Carson, a surgeon from Maryland.

Bennett, 52, who grew up in Minford, has also served as chief of staff to former Republican House members Frank Cremeans of Gallipolis and Jean Schmidt from Loveland.

By forming an exploratory, Carson can raise money to finance travel to the early presidential contests of next year. If he officially enters the race, Carson would be the only African-American seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Carson, 63, has never held political office.

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