ATLANTA (Reuters) - Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich on Thursday is expected to say he will explore a 2012 presidential run but stop short of formally launching a committee, a Republican official said.
"It's setting up the beginning of a process," the Republican said of Gingrich's afternoon appearance in Atlanta.
Gingrich has a number of events scheduled in Atlanta related to his conservative group American Solutions and plans to meet Georgia Governor Nathan Deal at the state capitol before talking to reporters.
The Georgia conservative is still expected to announce soon the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, a formal step toward a White House bid, but it will not be the subject of the event.
Fox News on Wednesday suspended Gingrich from his role as a paid analyst, along with former Senator Rick Santorum, because the two have been gauging the possibility of seeking the Republican nomination to challenge President Barack Obama next year.
No major Republican candidates have declared for the 2012 race yet, although a longshot is expected to jump in on Thursday.
Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer plans to hold a news conference on Thursday in Baton Rouge at the bank where he is president, Business First Bank, to announce a presidential exploratory committee.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, editing by David Storey)