U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz will announce Monday that he is seeking the Republican nomination for president.
It's the boldest step yet in the junior Texas senator's meteoric rise. Only four years ago, he was a virtual unknown in national politics. On Monday, Cruz aides say he will officially make his intentions clear at Liberty University in central Virginia, a nerve center of evangelical thought and activity that telegraphs an emphasis on Christian conservative voters.
Since the beginning of the year, Cruz has traveled extensively to the early primary states – New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina – and appeared on high-profile television programs, like Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Cruz’s announcement, which was first reported by The Houston Chronicle, comes just as one fundraising quarter ends and another is about to begin. Early April is a frequent time for candidates to announce their bids. The timing maximizes the amount of time Cruz can spend raising money out of the gate in the second quarter of the year.
He has frequently argued on the campaign trail that he believes the way for a Republican to win a general election campaign is to focus on pumping up the conservative base, rather than reaching out to moderate voters amid a splintered, crowded GOP field.
Even so, that field is politically talented.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee could pose a threat to Cruz’s courtship of the evangelical vote, but it remains unclear whether Huckabee will follow through on a run.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will announce his intention to run for the presidency on April 7. Paul grew up in Lake Jackson, and could put up a fight with Cruz over Libertarian-leaning Republican primary voters.
Another Texan, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, announced on Facebook in December his interest in the GOP nomination.
And former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is active on the campaign trail, repeatedly indicating that he will make a decision on a second GOP nomination run in late May or early June.
There are another half-dozen GOP contenders canvassing the country ahead of their own expected presidential campaigns.
At this point, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the most formidable Democrat eyeing the presidency.