Birmingham MP John Hemming has launched his campaign to become new leader of the Liberal Democrats.
The Yardley MP invited supporters to send nomination papers to the party's London headquarters.
And he has begun canvassing support among his colleagues in the House of Commons.
He needs nominations from seven Lib Dem MPs to be a candidate. So far, two have pledged to back him.
Mr Hemming revealed he was considering standing for the leadership following the resignation of Charles Kennedy.
He promised to make a final decision after meeting activists at a party event over the weekend.
But he has already urged party members to write to officials saying: "I hereby nominate John Hemming MP as a candidate for Leader of the Liberal Democrats."
And he has even begun putting together a campaign team.
The MP claims to have nominations and messages of support from as far afield as Blackpool, Chester and Hertfordshire, as well as Lib Dem members across Birmingham.
Mr Hemming is expected to stress his experience as a successful businessman who has already proved himself outside the world of politics. He will promise to improve the way the party communicates with voters, and call for policies to make public services more accountable.
Mr Kennedy resigned as party leader on Saturday, after admitting he had a drink problem.
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Foreign Affairs spokesman and now acting leader, has emerged as favourite to succeed Mr Kennedy.
Other possible candidates include Simon Hughes, the party's President, and Mark Oaten, the Home Affairs Spokesman.
There has been speculation that Sir Menzies, known as Ming, could become leader in a "coronation" without a ballot, if nobody else stands.
But Mr Hemming said he was determined not to allow that to happen.
He said: "This is a very good start. The Federal Executive has not yet even fired the starter pistol and yet nominations are coming in from across the country. The Lib Dem membership want their democratic right to have a vote."
But he admitted he might find it difficult to gather the required support from seven MPs.
Fellow West Midland Lib Dem Paul Keetch, MP for Hereford, said he was backing Sir Menzies.
He said: "Ming is the best person to unite the party.
"He has the integrity and the stature to be an excellent leader."
Solihull Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt said she was consulting colleagues, but she also wanted an election to take place.
Sir Menzies enjoyed a boost yesterday when he was backed by former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown.
The party's executive committee met last night to draw up detailed plans for an election. ..SUPL: