Ted Cruz reportedly will announce on Monday that he will seek the presidency, with a campaign that seeks to energize the party’s Tea Party and socially conservative wings.
The Houston Chronicle, citing unnamed senior advisers with knowledge of his plans, reported late Saturday that Cruz is “done exploring” and will bypass an exploratory committee. The Wall Street Journal and CNN on Sunday confirmed that Cruz would announce the following day.
The freshman senator from Texas is set to declare his intentions during a speech at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell, which bills itself as the world’s largest Christian university.
Cruz, 44, is just starting the third year of his first Senate term. He is an undisputed leader of the Tea Party movement, known for his brash, uncompromising style and conservative beliefs that take aim at both President Obama as well as his fellow Republicans.
He repeatedly criticizes the “mushy middle” — as reflected by the GOP’s last two presidential nominees Mitt Romney and John McCain — and denounces his fellow Republicans for failing to make bold distinctions with Democrats. “It’s a failed electoral strategy,” Cruz has said.
Perhaps more than any other potential candidate, Cruz has urged a more aggressive path for Republicans. He has criticized his party leadership for not taking on Obama on health care and immigration, and has urged the party faithful to “demand action, not talk” from their elected officials — including fellow Republicans.
“If a candidate tells you that they oppose Obamacare, fantastic! (But) when have you stood up and fought against it?” Cruz said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “If a candidate says they oppose Obama’s illegal executive amnesty, terrific. When have you stood up and fought against it?”
James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas in Austin, said the GOP primaries will determine whether Cruz’s personality will be an asset or a challenge.
“His combativeness and tone are a potential problem,” Henson said. “They are part of the image he’s cultivated and, from what I have seen, he is not overly concerned with modulating that brand. We’re going to see whether it works or not.”
A self-described lifelong conservative who grew up in Houston, Cruz was educated at Princeton and Harvard and clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He had stints in the federal government — working for the U.S. Trade Commission and the Justice Department in the George W. Bush administration — as well as in private law practice.
He returned home to Texas to serve as solicitor general for Greg Abbott, the former state attorney general who is now governor. But it was Cruz’s drubbing in 2012 of then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Senate GOP primary that made him a Tea Party star.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Catalina Camia and David Jackson