The Slatest

Ted Cruz Set to Become First Republican to Announce Presidential Bid on Monday

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during the 2015 Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum on March 10, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz wants to be first. The Texas senator will become the first major Republican hopeful to formally enter the presidential race on Monday, when he will declare that he intends to run for president in 2016. Cruz is skipping over the exploratory-committee phase that usually precedes a presidential campaign. His advisers “say he is done exploring and is now ready to become the first Republican presidential candidate,” reports the Houston Chronicle, which was the first to break the news.

The senator will make his announcement at Liberty University in Virginia, where he is going to be a speaker at a convocation ceremony. With the move, Cruz “will be effectively firing the starting gun on the Republican primary, which has been dominated so far by the early exploratory maneuvers of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor; Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin; Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey; Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky; and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida,” details the New York Times.

Cruz, a Tea Party advocate who has hopes of using his conservative base to propel him to the White House, was elected to the Senate in 2012, and has often frustrated members of his own party with what he has characterized as stances against Washington. That is why Cruz’s supporters say he could reach across party lines and appeal to voters who are frustrated with Washington, regardless of their affiliation. 

In a March poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC, around 40 percent of GOP primary voters said they could see supporting Cruz, versus 38 percent who said they could not support the senator. That puts Cruz in the middle of the pack, below the big-name candidates like Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, and even former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.