Stephen Colbert is transferring control of his super PAC to fellow Comedy Central host Jon Stewart, making it legal for him to explore a presidential run.
"I'm proud to announce I plan to form an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my candidacy in the United States of South Carolina," Colbert said during a Thursday night taping of his show, according to CNN.
There has been speculation about a potential Colbert presidential run in recent days after a poll showed the satirist leading Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman in South Carolina. Colbert said his placement in the polls -- "ahead of the third place finisher in New Hampshire" -- meant a potential Colbert 2012 effort "just got real."
"Clearly my fellow South Caroliniacs see me as the only Mitternative," Colbert said.
During his Jan. 11 show, he asked fans if he should consider a presidential run and promised a big announcement the next day.
"It all makes so much sense!" Colbert said. "My heart always leads me to me, and I am so not Mitt!"
The comedian acknowledged that a presidential bid would be a longshot, noting that the major Republican candidates have long been working toward their campaign goals.
"These guys have been running for a year now," Colbert said. "How can I ever compete with an established candidate like Jon Huntsman?"
Unfortunately for Colbert, a presidential run may not be a possibility this late in the game. Colbert missed the November 1 filing deadline to get his name on the GOP primary ballot in South Carolina, and according to the South Carolina Election Commission, there's no write-in space on the electronic and paper primary ballots.
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