Canadian-Born Texas Junior Senator Launches Presidential Campaign

Ted Cruz confirmed what was inevitable early Monday morning on Twitter. The Texas senator, sworn in just 26 months ago, is running for president.

Monday morning, Cruz formally confirmed his candidacy at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, a location the signals both his desire to appeal to socially conservative voters and what a hilarious sideshow his campaign will be.

In a speech that was heavy on Jesus, liberty and invective for all things federal, Cruz became the first person to jump -- formally, anyway -- into 2016 presidential pool. He urged his audience to "imagine" a world in which the Affordable Care Act was repealed, the IRS was disbanded and school choice was the "civil rights issue of the 21st century." He got perhaps his biggest ovation when he promised he would stand "unapologetically" with Israel. He wouldn't boycott Benjamin Netanyahu like President Obama, he said.

Cruz, who believes the world is on fire, was appointed Texas solicitor general in 2003 by then Attorney General Greg Abbott. In 2011 he ran against Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former SMU football star Craig James in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Despite being a political novice, he finished second to Dewhurst in the primary, forcing a runoff, before riding to Tea Party support to a victory in that runoff and the November 2012 general election.

Cruz was not born in the United States. The 44-year-old was born in Calgary, Alberta, to Rafael Cruz, a Cuban immigrant, and Eleanor Wilson. By virtue of his mother's having been an American citizen when he was born, constitutional scholars say he meets the requirement that any person running for president be a natural born American citizen.

As the silly season before the primary heats up, Cruz will likely gain support for his numerous accomplishments in the upper chamber including helping shut the federal government down for fun and reading the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young