Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cruz Becomes First Major Candidate to Jump into 2016 Race

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cruz Becomes First Major Candidate to Jump into 2016 Race

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas tweets 'I am running for president' late Sunday, becoming the first major candidate for president. The announcement, earlier than expected, kicks off what's expected to be a rush over the next few weeks of more than a dozen White House hopefuls into the 2016 campaign.

Cruz had been expected to make the announcement in a speech Monday morning at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., choosing to formally begin his campaign at the Christian college founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell rather than in his home state of Texas or the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. It's a fitting setting for Cruz, 44, a Tea Party darling whose entry into the 2016 campaign drew cheers Sunday among fellow conservatives.

"The official Republican pool of candidates will take a quantum leap forward with his announcement," said Amy Kremer, the former head of the Tea Party Express, a political action committee that supports the conservative movement.

Elected for the first time just three years ago, when he defeated an establishment figure in Texas politics with decades of experience in office, Cruz has hinted openly for more than a year that he wants to move down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Senate and into the White House. His plans were confirmed Sunday by one of his political strategists, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity so as not to preclude the announcement.

While Cruz is the first Republican to declare his candidacy, he is all but certain to be followed by several big names in the GOP, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and two Senate colleagues, Kentucky's Rand Paul and Florida's Marco Rubio.

The Houston Chronicle first reported details about Cruz's campaign launch. His move puts him into pole position among those whose strategy to win the nomination counts on courting the party's most conservative voters, who hold an outsized influence in the Republican nominating process.

"Cruz is going to make it tough for all of the candidates who are fighting to emerge as the champion of the anti-establishment wing of the party," GOP strategist Kevin Madden said. …

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