POLITICS

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz set to launch bid to become first Hispanic president

FILE - In this March 10, 2015, file photo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum in Washington. Cruz plans to announce Monday, March 23, 2015, that he is running for president. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

FILE - In this March 10, 2015, file photo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum in Washington. Cruz plans to announce Monday, March 23, 2015, that he is running for president. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Openly hinting at the possibility of seeking the White House seems to be over for Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Texas Republican, who has teased voters for months, is set to announce his plans to run for President on Monday, according to The Houston Chronicle, becoming the first high-profile Republican to formally enter the 2016 presidential contest.

A strategist for the first-term Republican senator confirmed Cruz's decision to The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity so as not to preclude the formal announcement.

The son of an American mother and Cuban-born Father, Cruz would be the first nation’s first Hispanic president.

While Cruz is the first Republican to declare his candidacy, he is sure to be followed by several big names in the GOP, including fellow Hispanic Senate colleague Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Cruz, 44, has considerable appeal among the Republican Party's base of conservative voters.

Following his election to the Senate in 2012, the former Texas solicitor general quickly established himself as an uncompromising conservative willing to take on Democrats and Republicans alike. Criticized by members of his own party at times, he won praise from tea party activists for leading the GOP's push to shut down the federal government during an unsuccessful bid to block funding for President Barack Obama's health care law.

One of the nation's top college debaters while a student at Princeton University, Cruz continues to be a leading voice for the law's repeal. He also promises to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, scrap the Education Department and curtail federal regulators, likening them to locusts.

Cruz has left little doubt about his 2016 intentions in recent weeks. He made his first trip to New Hampshire earlier this month to help lay the groundwork for a presidential campaign, having already begun to ramp up outreach to party activists and donors.

While in New Hampshire, Cruz told voters his daughter, Caroline, had given him permission to join the presidential race in the hopes that the family puppy would get to play on the White House lawn instead of near their Houston high-rise condo.

"If you win, that means Snowflake will finally get a backyard to pee in," Cruz said his daughter told him.

Cruz is set to release a book this summer that he said would reflect themes of his White House campaign.

In a recent Associated Press interview, he said he wants to counter the "caricatures" of the right as "stupid," ''evil" or "crazy."

"The image created in the mainstream media does not comply with the facts," he said.

While born in Canada, two lawyers who represented presidents from both parties at the Supreme Court recently wrote in the Harvard Law Review that Cruz meets the constitutional standard to run.

Cruz would retain his Senate seat through early 2019 if he fails to win the presidency.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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