Ben Carson
Ben Carson is expected to announce whether he will run for president on Monday. He is pictured here speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor in Maryland Feb. 26, 2015. Reuters

Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson plans to make a decision Monday on whether to run for president, an email sent from the conservative hero’s exploratory committee indicated. In the email, Carson said nearly 60,000 people had contributed to the committee, which helped him test the waters for a presidential bid.

“On Monday, I will be announcing my decision of whether or not to run for president, so this will be the final email from my Exploratory Committee,” the message read. “This period of time has been a learning process in regards to everything from the issues, to the concerns of my fellow citizens, to the depth of my support.”

Carson got off to a rocky start when he first announced the exploratory committee in March. In an interview with CNN, Carson used the prison system as an example homosexuality is a choice because some straight people come out of prison gay. The remark touched off a firestorm.

“A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out they're gay,” he said. “So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”

Out of 14 potential 2016 candidates, Carson is in eighth place, an aggregate of the most recent polling data compiled by Real Clear Politics indicates. Carson has about 5 percent support, trailing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Carson is popular among social conservatives and gained national attention during the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast when he criticized the Affordable Care Act as President Barack Obama sat beside him on the dais.

Carson is also the favorite among young GOP primary voters. A survey by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics found the retired neurosurgeon with 10 percent support among voters under 30, leading Bush and Paul, who both polled at 8 percent, and Huckabee at 7 percent, the Washington Times reported. About 30 percent of respondents were undecided.

Carson referenced the study in his email, which he said was the “final” message being sent out by his exploratory committee. “I hope that you’ll closely watch your inbox over the next couple of days so that you’ll be one of the first people to know about my decision,” he wrote.