Ted Cruz

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Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Texas
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Serving with John Cornyn
Preceded by Kay Bailey Hutchison
Solicitor General of Texas
In office
January 9, 2003 – May 12, 2008
Governor Rick Perry
Preceded by Julie Parsley
Succeeded by James Ho
Personal details
Born Rafael Edward Cruz
(1970-12-22) December 22, 1970 (age 52)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Heidi Nelson (m. 2001)
Children 2
Parents Rafael Cruz
Eleanor Wilson
Education Princeton University (BA)
Harvard University (JD)
Website Senate website

Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz (born December 22, 1970) is an American politician and attorney, who has served as the junior United States Senator from Texas since 2013.[1] He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

Cruz graduated from Princeton University, New Jersey, in 1992, and from Harvard Law School, Massachusetts, in 1995. From 1999 to 2003, he served in various political appointee positions: the Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice, and a Domestic Policy Advisor to George W. Bush on the 2000 George W. Bush Presidential campaign.

Cruz served as Solicitor General of Texas, from 2003 to 2008, appointed by Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott. He was the first Hispanic, and the longest-serving, Solicitor General in Texas history. From 2004 to 2009, Cruz was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas, where he taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation.

Cruz ran for the Senate seat vacated by fellow Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison and, in July 2012, defeated Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst during the Republican primary runoff, 57–43%. He defeated former State Representative Paul Sadler in the November 2012 general election, winning 56–41%. He is the first Hispanic American to serve as a U.S. Senator representing Texas, and is one of three senators of Cuban descent. He chairs the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Activities, and is the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness. In November 2012, he was appointed Vice-Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Cruz began campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in March 2015.[2] During the primary campaign, his base of support was strongest with "women, white evangelical Protestants, people over the age of 50, and those who identified themselves as conservatives",[3] though he had crossover appeal to other factions within his party, including libertarian conservatives and millennials.[4]

Cruz's victory in the February 2016 Iowa caucuses marked the first time a Hispanic person won a U.S. presidential caucus or primary. He eventually emerged as the main challenger to frontrunner Donald Trump. He suspended his campaign for president on May 3, 2016, after losing the Republican primary in Indiana to Trump.

Early life and family

Rafael Edward Cruz was born on December 22, 1970,[5][6] at Foothills General Hospital[7][8] in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to parents Eleanor Elizabeth (née Darragh) Wilson and Rafael Bienvenido Cruz y Díaz.[9][10][11][12] Cruz's mother was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She is of three-quarters Irish and one-quarter Italian descent. She earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Rice University in the 1950s.[13] At the time of his birth, Cruz's parents had lived in Calgary for three years and were working in the oil business as owners of a seismic-data processing firm for oil drilling.[11][14][15][16][17] Cruz has said, "I'm the son of two mathematicians/computer programmers."[18] In 1974, his father left the family and moved to Texas.[19] Later that year, his parents reconciled and relocated to Houston.[7]

Cruz' paternal grandfather, Rafael, immigrated to Cuba as an infant with his parents from the Canary Islands of Spain.[20] Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, was born in Cuba; he grew up in the middle class and left Cuba in 1957 to attend the University of Texas at Austin. He obtained political asylum in the United States after his four-year student visa expired, as the Cuban Revolution had changed the government.[21] Rafael Cruz earned Canadian citizenship in 1973.[7] Rafael Cruz became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005.[11][22][23] Eleanor and Rafael Cruz divorced in 1997.[24]

Cruz has two older half-sisters, Miriam Ceferina Cruz and Roxana Lourdes Cruz, from his father's first marriage. Miriam died in 2011.[24][25][26]


Cruz attended two private high schools: Faith West Academy in Katy, Texas;[27] and Second Baptist High School in Houston, from which he graduated as valedictorian in 1988.[22][28][29] During high school, Cruz participated in a Houston-based group known at the time as the Free Market Education Foundation, a program that taught high school students the philosophies of economists such as Milton Friedman and Frédéric Bastiat.[17][30]

Cruz graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy[31] from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.[5][32] While at Princeton, he competed for the American Whig-Cliosophic Society's Debate Panel and won the top speaker award at both the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship.[33] In 1992, he was named U.S. National Speaker of the Year and, with his debate partner David Panton, also Team of the Year by the American Parliamentary Debate Association.[33] Cruz and Panton later represented Harvard Law School at the 1995 World Debating Championship, losing in the semi-finals to a team from Australia.[34][35][36] Princeton's debate team named their annual novice championship after Cruz.[36]

Cruz's senior thesis at Princeton investigated the separation of powers; its title, Clipping the Wings of Angels, draws its inspiration from a passage attributed to US President James Madison: "If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." Cruz argued that the drafters of the Constitution intended to protect the rights of their constituents, and that the last two items in the Bill of Rights offer an explicit stop against an all-powerful state.[13][37]

After graduating from Princeton, Cruz attended Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1995 with a Juris Doctor degree.[5][38] While at Harvard Law, he was a primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, an executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.[32] Referring to Cruz's time as a student at Harvard Law, Professor Alan Dershowitz said, "Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant".[39][40][41][42] At Harvard Law, Cruz was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics.[43]

Cruz serves on the Board of Advisors of the Texas Review of Law and Politics.[44]

Legal career


Ted Cruz speaking in Nashua, New Hampshire, on April 17, 2015

Cruz served as a law clerk to J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1995[43][45] and to William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States, in 1996.[5] Cruz was the first Hispanic to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.[46]

Private practice

After Cruz finished his clerkships, he took a position with Cooper, Carvin & Rosenthal, now known as Cooper & Kirk, LLC, from 1997 to 1998.[47] While with the firm, Cruz worked on matters relating to the National Rifle Association, and helped prepare testimony for the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton.[48] In 1998, Cruz was briefly one of the attorneys who represented Congressman John Boehner during his litigation against Congressman Jim McDermott, which concerned the alleged leak of an illegal recording of a phone conversation whose participants included Boehner.[49][50]

Bush administration

Cruz joined the George W. Bush presidential campaign in 1999 as a domestic policy adviser, advising then-Governor George W. Bush on a wide range of policy and legal matters, including civil justice, criminal justice, constitutional law, immigration, and government reform.[47]

Cruz assisted in assembling the Bush legal team, devising strategy, and drafting pleadings for filing with the Supreme Court of Florida and U.S. Supreme Court in the case Bush v. Gore during the 2000 Florida presidential recounts, leading to two wins for the Bush team.[43][51] Cruz recruited future Chief Justice John Roberts and noted attorney Mike Carvin to the Bush legal team.[48]

After Bush took office, Cruz served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department[5][51] and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.[5][39][51]

Texas Solicitor General

Appointed to the office of Solicitor General of Texas by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott,[45][52] Cruz served in that position from 2003 to 2008.[30][43] The office had been established in 1999 to handle appeals involving the state, but Abbott hired Cruz with the idea that Cruz would take a "leadership role in the United States in articulating a vision of strict constructionism." As Solicitor General, Cruz argued before the Supreme Court of the United States nine times, winning five cases and losing four.[48]

Cruz has authored 70 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court.[39][45][53] Cruz's record of having argued before the Supreme Court nine times is more than any practicing lawyer in Texas or any current member of Congress.[54] Cruz has commented on his nine cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court: "We ended up year after year arguing some of the biggest cases in the country. There was a degree of serendipity in that, but there was also a concerted effort to seek out and lead conservative fights."[54]

In 2003, while Cruz was Texas Solicitor General, the Texas Attorney General's office declined to defend Texas' sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas, where the U.S. Supreme Court decided that state laws banning homosexual sex as illegal sodomy were unconstitutional.[55]

In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by the attorneys general of 31 states, which said that the Washington, D.C. handgun ban should be struck down as infringing upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.[53][56] Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[53][57]

Cruz speaking to the Values Voters Summit in October 2011

In addition to his success in Heller, Cruz successfully defended the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds before the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, winning 5–4 in Van Orden v. Perry.[39][43][53]

In 2004, Cruz was involved in the high-profile case, Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow,[39][43] in which he wrote a brief on behalf of all 50 states which argued that the plaintiff, a non-custodial parent, did not have standing to file suit on behalf of his daughter.[58] The Supreme Court upheld the position of Cruz’s brief.[59]

Cruz served as lead counsel for the state and successfully defended the multiple litigation challenges to the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan in state and federal district courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court, which was decided 5–4 in his favor in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry.[43][60]

Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt to re-open the cases of 51 Mexican nationals, all of whom were convicted of murder in the United States and were on death row.[39][43][45][53] With the support of the George W. Bush Administration, the petitioners argued that the United States had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to notify the convicted nationals of their opportunity to receive legal aid from the Mexican consulate.[48][61] They based their case on a decision of the International Court of Justice in the Avena case which ruled that by failing to allow access to the Mexican consulate, the US had breached its obligations under the Convention.[62] Texas won the case in a 6–3 decision, the Supreme Court holding that ICJ decisions were not binding in domestic law and that the President had no power to enforce them.[48][61]

Michael Wayne Haley was arrested for stealing a calculator from Walmart in 1997.[63] Because Haley had two prior convictions for theft, as well as prior felony convictions for delivery of a controlled substance and attempted robbery, he was sentenced as a habitual offender under Texas law to sixteen and a half years in prison. It later came to light that Haley's robbery offense occurred three days before his conviction on the controlled substance charge was finalized, so the habitual offender statute might not have applied. The habitual offender issue was discovered after Haley had exhausted his appeals. As Solicitor General, Cruz declined to vacate the sentence saying "I think justice is being done because he had a full and fair trial and an opportunity to raise his errors."[64] The Supreme Court later remanded the case to lower courts based on Haley's ineffective assistance of counsel claim. During oral argument, Cruz conceded that Haley had a very strong argument for ineffective assistance of counsel since Haley's attorney failed to recognize the sentencing error and that he would not move to have Haley re-incarcerated during the appeal process.[64] After remand, Haley was re-sentenced to "time served".[65]

Cruz was named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America in 2008,[52][66] by The National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America also in 2008,[67][68] and in October 2010 by Texas Lawyer as one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.[69][70]

Return to private practice

After leaving the Solicitor General position in 2008, Cruz worked in a private law firm in Houston, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, often representing corporate clients, until he was sworn in as U.S. senator from Texas in 2013.[13][43][71] At Morgan Lewis, he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.[71] In 2009 and 2010, he formed and then abandoned a bid for state attorney general when the incumbent Attorney General Greg Abbott, who hired Cruz as Solicitor General, decided to run for re-election.[22]

While at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Cruz represented Pfizer in a lawsuit brought by a group of public hospitals and community health centers who accused the drug manufacturer of overcharging. The Supreme Court eventually threw the case out.[72] Shandong Linglong Rubber Company was found guilty of marketing versions of tires that were based on blueprints stolen by a former employee of a Florida businessman and ordered to pay $26 million to the Floridian. Cruz worked on the Chinese company's appellant brief. The appeals court denied the appeal and affirmed the jury's award.[73] Cruz represented drug manufacturer B. Braun Medical Inc. in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit after the company was found guilty of wrongfully discharging a former employee. Cruz asserted that she had failed to prove that B. Braun had directed her to violate the law and that she had not presented sufficient evidence that her refusal to violate the law was why she had been fired. The appeals court rejected Cruz's argument and affirmed the $880,000 award.[73] Cruz represented Toyota in an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court in a statute of limitations case, where a judge wanted to investigate Toyota for contempt after a former Toyota in-house lawyer accused Toyota of unlawfully withholding documents in a product liability case.[74] Cruz unsuccessfully argued the judge's jurisdiction expired thirty days after the case was dismissed following an out-of-court settlement, but later won on a second appeal using the same argument.[75]

Cruz defended two record-setting $54-million personal injury awards in New Mexico at the appellate level, including one which had been thrown out by a lower court.[76] Cruz represented a mentally disabled man who was allegedly raped by an employee of the facility where he lived. And in the other case Cruz represented the family of a 78-year-old resident of an Albuquerque nursing home who died of internal bleeding.[76][77] The settlements were sealed in both cases.[76][77]

U.S. Senate

Cruz in 2012 with his predecessor-to-be (Sen. Hutchison at right) and his future fellow senator from Texas (Sen. Cornyn at left)

2012 election

Cruz's victory in the Republican primary was described by the Washington Post as "the biggest upset of 2012 ... a true grassroots victory against very long odds."[78] On January 19, 2011, after U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she would not seek re-election, Cruz announced his candidacy via a blogger conference call.[79] In the Republican senatorial primary, Cruz ran against sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Cruz was endorsed first by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin[80] and then by the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative political action committee;[81] Erick Erickson, former editor of prominent conservative blog RedState;[82] the FreedomWorks for America super PAC;[83] nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin;[84] Tea Party Express;[85] Young Conservatives of Texas;[86] and U.S. Senators Tom Coburn,[87] Jim DeMint,[88] Mike Lee,[89] Rand Paul[90] and Pat Toomey.[91] He was also endorsed by former Texas Congressman Ron Paul,[92] George P. Bush,[51] and former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.[93] Former Attorney General Edwin Meese served as national chairman of Cruz's campaign.[51]

Cruz won the runoff for the Republican nomination with a 14-point margin over Dewhurst.[94] Cruz defeated Dewhurst despite being outspent by Dewhurst who held a statewide elected office.[95] Dewhurst spent $19 million and Cruz spent only $7 million.[95] Dewhurst raised over $30 million and outspent Cruz at a ratio of nearly 3-to-1.[96]

In the November 6 general election, Cruz faced Democratic candidate Paul Sadler, an attorney and a former state representative from Henderson, in east Texas. Cruz won with 4.5 million votes (56.4%) to Sadler's 3.2 million (40.6%). Two minor candidates garnered the remaining 3% of the vote.[97] According to a poll by Cruz's pollster Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, Cruz received 40% of the Hispanic vote, vs. 60% for Sadler, outperforming Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney with the Hispanic vote in Texas.[98][99]

After Time magazine reported on a potential violation of ethics rules by failing to publicly disclose his financial relationship with Caribbean Equity Partners Investment Holdings during the 2012 campaign, Cruz called his failure to disclose these connections an inadvertent omission.[100]

In January 2016, The New York Times reported that Cruz and his wife had taken out low-interest loans from Goldman Sachs (where she worked) and Citibank, and failed to report the nearly $1 million in loans on Federal Election Commission disclosure statements as required by law.[101] Cruz disclosed the loans on his Senate financial disclosure forms in July 2012, but not on the Federal Election Commission form.[102] There is no indication that Cruz's wife had any role in providing any of the loans, or that the banks did anything wrong.[102] The loans were largely repaid by later campaign fundraising. A spokesperson for Cruz said his failure to report the loans to the FEC was "inadvertent" and said he would be filing supplementary paperwork.[101]


Cruz presents U.S. flag to World War II veteran Richard Arvine Overton during opening ceremony for outpatient clinic in Austin on August 22, 2013

Cruz has sponsored 25 bills of his own, including:[103]

  • S.177, a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health-care related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, introduced January 29, 2013
  • S.505, a bill to prohibit the use of drones to kill citizens of the United States within the United States, introduced March 7, 2013
  • S.729 and S. 730, bills to investigate and prosecute felons and fugitives who illegally purchase firearms, and to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms through straw purchases and trafficking, introduced March 15, 2013
  • S.1336, a bill to permit States to require proof of citizenship for registering to vote in federal elections, introduced July 17, 2013
  • S.2170, a bill to increase coal, natural gas, and crude oil exports, to approve the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, to expand oil drilling offshore, onshore, in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, and in Indian reservations, to give states the sole power of regulating hydraulic fracturing, to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard, to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases, to require the EPA to assess how new regulations will affect employment, and to earmark natural resource revenue to paying off the federal government's debt, introduced March 27, 2014
  • S.2415, a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to eliminate all limits on direct campaign contributions to candidates for public office, introduced June 3, 2014

Government shutdown of 2013

Cruz was involved with the October 2013 government shutdown.[104][105] Cruz gave a 21-hour Senate speech in an effort to hold up a federal budget bill and therefore defund the Affordable Care Act.[104][106][107] Cruz persuaded the House of Representatives and House Speaker John Boehner to include an ACA defunding provision in the bill.[105] In the U.S. Senate, former Majority Leader Harry Reid Senate, blocked the filibuster attempt because only eighteen Republican Senators supported the filibuster.[105] To supporters, the move "signaled the depth of Cruz's commitment to rein in government."[104] This move was extremely popular among Cruz supporters, with Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government naming Cruz "2013 Person of the Year" in an op-ed in The Hill, for primarily his filibuster against the Affordable Care Act.[108] Cruz was also named "2013 Man of the Year" by conservative publications TheBlaze,[109] FrontPage Magazine[110] and The American Spectator,[111] "2013 Conservative of the Year" by Townhall.com,[112] and "2013 Statesman of the Year" by the Republican Party of Sarasota County, Florida.[113][114] He was a finalist for Time magazine's "Person of the Year" in 2013.[115] To critics, including some Republican colleagues[105] such as Senator Lindsey Graham, the move was ineffective.[104]

Senate bill 2195

On April 1, 2014, Cruz introduced Senate bill 2195, a bill that would allow the President of the United States to deny visas to any ambassador to the United Nations who has been found to have been engaged in espionage activities or a terrorist activity against the United States or its allies and may pose a threat to U.S. national security interests.[116] The bill was written in response to Iran's choice of Hamid Aboutalebi as their ambassador.[117] Aboutalebi was involved in the Iran hostage crisis, in which of a number of American diplomats from the US embassy in Tehran were held captive in 1979.[117][118][119]

Under the headline "A bipartisan message to Iran", Cruz thanked President Barack Obama for signing S 2195 into law. The letter, published in the magazine Politico on April 18, 2014, starts with "Thanks to President Obama for joining a unanimous Congress and signing S 2195 into law". Cruz also thanked senators from both political parties for "swiftly passing this legislation and sending it to the White House."[120][121][122]

Committee assignments

According to transcripts as reported by Politico, in his first two years in the Senate, Cruz attended 17 of 50 public Armed Services Committee hearings, 3 of 25 Commerce Committee hearings, 4 of the 12 Judiciary Committee hearings, and missed 21 of 135 roll call votes during the first three months of 2015.[123]

Comments on President Obama

In a November 2014 Senate speech, Cruz accused the president of being "openly desirous to destroy the Constitution and this Republic."[124] In the same speech, Cruz invoked the speeches of the ancient Roman senator Cicero against Catiline to denounce Obama's planned executive actions on immigration reform.[124] Classics Professor Jesse Weiner, writing in The Atlantic, said that Cruz's analogy was "deeply disquieting" because "in casting Obama in the role of Catiline, Cruz unsubtly suggests that the sitting president was not lawfully elected and is the perpetrator of a violent insurrection to overthrow the government...In effect, he accuses the president of high treason. Regardless of one’s views on immigration reform and the Obama administration at large, this is dangerous rhetoric."[124]

Cruz has repeatedly said that the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran "will make the Obama administration the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism."[125] In response, Obama called Cruz's statements an example of "outrageous attacks" from Republican critics that crossed the line of responsible discourse: "We've had a sitting senator, who also happens to be running for President, suggest that I'm the leading state sponsor of terrorism. Maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it's not the kind of leadership that is needed for America right now."[125] Former Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney also criticized Cruz for his remarks, writing that although he, too, was opposed to the Iran agreement, Cruz's statement connecting Obama to terrorism was "way over the line" and "hurts the cause".[126][127]

After the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Cruz expressed his view that the winner of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, rather than President Obama, should appoint a new Justice.[128] In June 2016, Cruz blamed the Obama administration for the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, reasoning that it did not track the perpetrator Omar Mateen properly while he was on the terrorist watch list.[129] Following the terrorist attack on Nice, France, Cruz said in a statement that the country was at risk as a result of the Obama administration having a "willful blindness" in regards to radical Islamists.[130] With the passing of Fidel Castro in November, Cruz charged Obama with celebrating and lionizing Castro in public statements he made addressing the death.[131] On December 28, after Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech defending the U.S.'s decision to allow a U.N. resolution to pass, which condemned Israeli settlements "on land meant to be part of a future Palestinian state", Cruz denounced the speech as "disgraceful", and that history would preserve both Obama and Kerry as "relentless enemies of Israel." Cruz also accused the Obama administration of having a “radical anti-Israel agenda.”[132]

Friction with fellow Republican members of Congress

Cruz has used harsh rhetoric against fellow Republican politicians, and his relationships with various Republican members of Congress have been strained.[133][134] In 2013, Cruz referred to Republicans who he thought were insufficiently resistant to the proposals of President Obama as a "surrender caucus."[133] Cruz also called fellow Republicans out as "squishes" on gun-control issues during a Tea Party rally.[133] Cruz's role in the United States federal government shutdown of 2013 in particular attracted criticism from a number of Republican colleagues.[134] Republican Senator John McCain is reported to particularly dislike Cruz; in a Senate floor speech in 2013, McCain denounced Cruz's reference to Nazis when discussing the Affordable Care Act.[134] In March 2013, McCain also called Cruz and others "wacko birds" whose beliefs are not "reflective of the views of the majority of Republicans."[134] During the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, John Boehner described Cruz as "Lucifer in the flesh",[135] while during an interview, Lindsey Graham was quoted as saying "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you."[136]

In a heated Senate floor speech in July 2015, Cruz accused Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of telling "a flat-out lie" over his intentions to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which Cruz opposes. "What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again was a simple lie," Cruz said of Senate Republican Leader McConnell.[137] Cruz's "incendiary outburst" was "unusual in the cordial atmosphere of the Senate", according to Reuters.[137][138] In the same speech, Cruz assailed the "Republican majority in both houses of Congresses" for what Cruz termed an insufficiently conservative record.[138] Cruz's speech, and especially his accusation against McConnell, was condemned by various senior Republican senators, with John McCain saying that the speech was "outside the realm of Senate behavior" and "a very wrong thing to do."[139] Orrin Hatch expressed a similar opinion: “I don’t condone the use of that kind of language against another senator unless they can show definitive proof that there was a lie....And I know the leader didn’t lie.”[140] Cruz had alleged that McConnell scheduled a vote on the Ex-Im Bank as part of a deal to persuade Democrats like Maria Cantwell to stop blocking a trade bill, whereas McConnell denied there was any "deal", and that denial is what Cruz termed a "lie"; Hatch says McConnell did pledge to help Cantwell get a vote on the Ex-Im Bank.[141]

Among Cruz's few close allies in the Senate is Mike Lee of Utah.[142][143] Cruz has expressed pride in his reputation for having few allies, saying in June 2015 that he has been vilified for fighting "the Washington cartel."[144]

When Boehner announced in September 2015 that he would step down and resign from the House, Cruz expressed his concern that before resigning Boehner may have "cut a deal with Nancy Pelosi to fund the Obama administration for the rest of its tenure".[145] The following month, the budget agreement passed in the House by a vote of 266 to 187, with unanimous support from Democrats and from Boehner, lifting the debt ceiling through March 2017, and Cruz called the agreement “complete and utter surrender”.[146]

2016 presidential campaign

Cruz speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland

As early as 2013, Cruz was widely expected to run for the presidency in 2016.[147][148][149] On March 14, 2013, he gave the keynote speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington DC.[150] He tied for 7th place in the 2013 CPAC straw poll on March 16, winning 4% of the votes cast.[151] In October 2013, Cruz won the Values Voter Summit presidential straw poll with 42% of the vote.[152] Cruz finished first in two presidential straw polls conducted in 2014 with 30.33% of the vote at the Republican Leadership Conference[153] and 43% of the vote at the Republican Party of Texas state convention.[154]

Cruz did speaking events in mid-2013 across Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, all early primary states, leading to speculation that he was laying the groundwork for a run for President in 2016.[155] Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin described Cruz as the first potential presidential candidate to emphasize originalism as a major national issue.[48]

On April 12, 2014, Cruz spoke at the Freedom Summit, an event organized by Americans for Prosperity, and Citizens United.[156] The event was attended by several potential presidential candidates.[157] In his speech, Cruz mentioned that Latinos, young people and single mothers are the people most affected by the recession, and that the Republican Party should make outreach efforts to these constituents. He also said that the words, "growth and opportunity" should be tattooed on the hands of every Republican politician.[156]

On March 23, 2015, Cruz announced his 2016 presidential candidacy for the GOP primaries and caucuses, in a morning speech delivered at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.[158] Also, at the same hour, he posted on his Twitter page: "I'm running for President and I hope to earn your support!"[159] He was the first announced major Republican presidential candidate for the 2016 campaign.[160][161] During the primary campaign, his base of support was mainly among social conservatives, though he had crossover appeal to other factions within his party, including in particular libertarian conservatives.[162][163]

HarperCollins published Cruz's book A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America on June 30, 2015.[164] The book reached the bestseller list of several organizations in its first week of release.[165][166]

Primary wins

In the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, Cruz received over 7.8 million votes,[167][168] won 12 states, and earned 559 delegates.[169] He raised nearly $92 million, a record for a GOP primary candidate, much of it from small online donors and had 325,000 volunteers.[170]

On February 1, 2016, Cruz won the Iowa caucuses.[171] The Iowa win made him the first Hispanic to win either a presidential primary election or caucus.[171][172][173] Cruz received 28% of the vote.[173] On February 10, 2016, Cruz placed third in the New Hampshire primary, with about 12% of the vote.[174] On February 21, 2016, he placed third in the South Carolina Republican primary with about 22.3% of the vote.[175]

On March 1, 2016, Super Tuesday primary day, Cruz won Texas by 17%, along with Alaska and Oklahoma, providing him with four state primary victories total.[176] In the Texas primary, Cruz received the most votes in all but six of the state's 254 counties.[177] On March 5, 2016, Cruz won the Kansas and Maine caucuses, giving him six statewide wins.[178][179][180]

Cruz won his widest margin up to that point in Kansas, where he beat frontrunner Donald Trump by 25 points.[181] With his victories over Trump in Texas, Kansas, and Maine, Cruz established himself as the candidate with the best opportunity to defeat Trump, the leading contender for the nomination.[182][183]

On March 8, 2016, Cruz won the Idaho primary with 45% of vote—defeating Trump by 17% and earning his seventh statewide victory.[184] He placed second in Michigan, Mississippi, and Hawaii.[184] On March 12, 2016, Cruz won the Wyoming county conventions with 67% of the vote and 9 delegates, giving him his eighth statewide win.[185]

On March 22, 2016, Cruz won the Utah Caucus with 69.2% of the vote, versus John Kasich with 16.8% and Donald Trump with 14%.[186] Because Cruz surpassed the 50% winner-take-all threshold, he won all 40 of Utah's delegates. This win was his ninth. On April 3, 2016, North Dakota elected a slate of delegates that was dominated by pro-Cruz delegates. Cruz received the support of the majority of the delegates.[187]

On April 6, 2016, Cruz won the Wisconsin primary with 48.2% of the vote, with Trump receiving 35.1%. It was Cruz's tenth statewide win. Cruz won 36 of the possible 42 delegates available in Wisconsin. Trump received the other 6 delegates. On April 2 and 7–9, 2016, Cruz swept the Colorado congressional district and state conventions taking all 34 delegates.[188][189][190][191] This gave Cruz his eleventh state win. On April 16, 2016, Cruz won all 14 of Wyoming's at-large delegates in the state convention. This secured the majority of state delegates giving Cruz his twelfth state win.[192]


Cruz has stated that when he was a child, his mother told him that she would have to make an affirmative act to claim Canadian citizenship for him, so his family assumed that he did not hold Canadian citizenship.[193] In August 2013, after the Dallas Morning News pointed out that Cruz had dual Canadian-American citizenship,[194][195] he applied to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship and ceased being a citizen of Canada on May 14, 2014.[193][196]

Several lawsuits and ballot challenges asserting that Cruz is ineligible have been filed.[197][198][199][200][201][202][203] No lawsuit or challenge has been successful, and in February 2016, the Illinois Board of Elections ruled in Cruz's favor, stating, "The candidate is a natural born citizen by virtue of being born in Canada to his mother who was a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth."[204]

Running mate

On April 27, 2016, Cruz announced that, if he were selected as the party's nominee, he would choose former CEO of HP and fellow 2016 Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina as his vice-presidential running mate.[205]


Shortly after losing overwhelmingly to Trump in the Indiana primary on May 3, 2016, Cruz officially announced his decision to suspend his campaign.[206]

After candidacy

Shortly after the campaign's end, Cruz indicated that he would be interested in restarting the bid if he were successful in the Nebraska primary,[207] which Trump instead won.[208]

Cruz at the 2016 Republican National Convention, July 20, 2016

In the months following, several publications noted that Cruz still had not endorsed Trump,[209][210] Cruz explaining in June that he was "watching and assessing" to determine if he would support him in the forthcoming general election.[211] On July 7, after a meeting with Trump, Cruz confirmed that he would be speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention.[212] In his speech on July 20, the third day of the convention, Cruz congratulated Trump but did not endorse him and told listeners to "vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution." The speech was met with boos and a negative reception among the crowd.[213] The following day at the Texas Republican delegation breakfast, Cruz defended his choice to not endorse Trump: "I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father. That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I'm going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say, ‘Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.'"[214][215] Later, on September 23, 2016, Cruz publicly endorsed Trump for president.[216]

On October 10, following the 2005 audio recording of Trump being released and several Republicans retracting their endorsements, Cruz reaffirmed his support, citing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as being "manifestly unfit to be President."[217] On November 15, Cruz met with President-elect Trump at the Trump Tower in New York City. It had been reported that Trump was considering Cruz for the position of U.S. Attorney General, but the position ultimately went to Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.[218] On November 28, in light of Trump showing a softer tone on his campaign promises, Cruz warned that justified backlash could ensue if he strayed from them.[219]

Political positions

Domestic affairs

On abortion, Cruz is "strongly pro-life" and "would allow the procedure only when a pregnancy endangers the mother's life."[220][221] He is in favor of cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood.[222]

Cruz opposes both same-sex marriage and civil unions.[223] He believes that marriage should be legally defined as only "between one man and one woman,"[224] but believes that the legality of same-sex marriage should be left to each state to decide.[225] Cruz referred to the Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide as "among the darkest hours of our nation" and accused the court of judicial activism.[226]

In 2015, Cruz voted in favor of the USA Freedom Act, which reauthorized the USA Patriot Act but reformed some of its provisions.[227][228]

Cruz is a proponent of school choice[229] and opposes the Common Core State Standards Initiative.[230] Cruz is a strong critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the ACA or "Obamacare"). He has sponsored legislation that would repeal the health care reform law and its amendments in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Cruz is a gun-rights supporter.[231] Cruz adopted a "hard-line stance" on immigration issues during the 2014 border crisis[232] and is an opponent of comprehensive immigration reform.[48][232] Cruz advocates for an increase from 65,000 to 325,000 annually in skilled foreign workers entering the United States using H-1B visas.[233]

Cruz opposes the legalization of marijuana, but believes it should be decided at the state level.[234] Following the legalization of marijuana in Colorado he stated that, “If the citizens of Colorado decide they want to go down that road, that’s their prerogative. I personally don’t agree with it, but that’s their right.”[235]

Cruz opposes net neutrality, arguing that the Internet economy has flourished in the United States simply because it has remained largely free from government regulation.[236]


Cruz has called for an end to "overcriminalization, harsh mandatory minimum sentences, and the demise of jury trials."[237] He supports the death penalty. In his 2012 Senate campaign, Cruz frequently mentioned his role as counsel for the State of Texas in Medellín v. Texas, a 2008 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that Texas has the legal right to ignore an order from the International Court of Justice directing the U.S. to review the convictions and sentences of dozens of Mexican nationals on death row.[238] Cruz has referred to Medellín as the most important case of his tenure as Texas solicitor general.[238]

In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt discussing the attack that killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Cruz said that "the simple and undeniable fact is the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats", and that the reason Democrats are soft on crime, is that convicted felons tend to vote Democratic.[239]

In August 2015, in the wake of the ambush death of a Texas police officer who was gunned down while filling up at a gas station, Cruz said that police are "feeling the assault from the President, from the top on down, as we see — whether it’s in Ferguson or Baltimore, the response from senior officials, the President or the Attorney General, is to vilify law enforcement. That’s wrong. It’s fundamentally wrong. It’s endangering all of our safety and security."[240]


Cruz has been described by the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies as a "free trader"[241] and as a "free-trade advocate" by the Wall Street Journal.[242] In 2013, Cruz proposed the abolition of the IRS and the implementation of a flat tax "where the average American can fill out taxes on a postcard."[243] Cruz is "adamantly opposed to a higher minimum wage."[244]

Cruz wants to decrease the size of the government significantly. In addition to eliminating the IRS as described above, he has promised to eliminate four other cabinet-level agencies. Cruz proposes to eliminate the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, Department of Commerce, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.[245]

Cruz is a supporter of TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline,[246] and along with every other Republican senator was a cosponsor of legislation in support of the pipeline.[247]


Cruz rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.[248][249] He has said that "the scientific evidence doesn't support global warming."[250] He has also stated: "They call anyone who questions the science who even points to the satellite data – they call you a, quote, 'denier.' Denier is not the language of science. Denier is the language of religion. It is heretic. You are a blasphemer. It's treated as a theology. But it's about power and money. At the end of the day, it's not complicated. This is liberal politicians who want government power."[250] In March 2015, he said that some people are "global warming alarmists" and, citing satellite temperature measurements, said that there had been no significant warming in 18 years.[249][250][251]

Cruz voted against the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 that would have created the National Endowment for the Oceans and authorized more than $26 billion in projects to be built by the Army Corps of Engineers, at least $16 billion of which would have come from federal taxpayers.[252][253] Cruz voted against the bill because it neglected "to reduce a substantial backlog of projects, to the detriment of projects with national implications, such as the Sabine–Neches Waterway".[254] Cruz stated that the Corps' responsibilities were expanded without providing adequate measures for state participation.[254] Proponents of the bill argued that it would provide steady funding to support research and restoration projects, funded primarily by dedicating 12.5% of revenues from offshore energy development, including oil, gas, and renewable energy, through offshore lease sales and production based royalty payments, distributed through a competitive grant program.[255]

Foreign affairs

Cruz has been an adamant opponent of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by the U.S. and other world powers, calling it "catastrophic" and "disastrous."[256][257]

Cruz is a critic of the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States, saying on Fox News in December 2014 that the thaw in relations was a "manifestation of the failures of the Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy" that "will be remembered as a tragic mistake."[258]

In 2013, Cruz stated that America had no "dog in the fight" during the Syrian Civil War and stated that America's armed forces should not serve as "al-Qaeda's air force".[259] In 2014, Cruz criticized the Obama administration: "The president's foreign policy team utterly missed the threat of ISIS, indeed, was working to arm Syrian rebels that were fighting side by side with ISIS", calling ISIS "the face of evil".[260] In a statement opposing US intervention for regime change in Syria, Cruz said, "If President Obama and Hillary Clinton and Sen. Rubio succeed in toppling [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, the result will be the radical Islamic terrorists will take over Syria, that Syria will be controlled by ISIS, and that is materially worse for U.S. national security interests."[261]

In early January 2017, Cruz, along with Texas governor Greg Abbott and some others met with the President of the Republic of China, Tsai Ing-wen. Cruz criticized the People's Republic of China after it reportedly made a statement asking members of Congress not to meet with Ing-wen.[262][263][264]

Personal life

Cruz with his wife, Heidi, at a rally in Houston, March 2015

Cruz married Heidi Nelson in 2001.[265] The couple has two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.[266] Cruz met his wife while working on the George W. Bush presidential campaign of 2000. She is currently taking leave from her position as head of the Southwest Region in the Investment Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and previously worked in the White House for Condoleezza Rice and in New York as an investment banker.[267]

Cruz has joked, "I'm Cuban, Irish, and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern Baptist."[268]

Electoral history

2012 Republican primary
Republican primary results, May 29, 2012[97]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David Dewhurst 624,170 44.6
Republican Ted Cruz 479,079 34.2
Republican Tom Leppert 186,675 13.3
Republican Craig James 50,211 3.6
Republican Glenn Addison 22,888 1.6
Republican Lela Pittenger 18,028 1.3
Republican Ben Gambini 7,193 0.5
Republican Curt Cleaver 6,649 0.5
Republican Joe Argis 4,558 0.3
Total votes 1,399,451 100
2012 Republican primary runoff
Republican runoff results, July 31, 2012[97]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Cruz 631,316 56.8
Republican David Dewhurst 480,165 43.2
Total votes 1,111,481 100
2012 general election
United States Senate election in Texas, 2012[97]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Ted Cruz 4,456,599 56.60% -5.10%
Democratic Paul Sadler 3,183,314 40.50% +4.50%
Libertarian John Jay Myers 161,462 2.10% -0.2%
Green David Collins 67,791 0.9%
Majority 1,273,285 16.10%
Turnout 7,869,166
Republican hold Swing

See also


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Party political offices
Preceded by
Kay Bailey Hutchison
Republican nominee for U.S. senator from Texas
(Class 1)

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United States Senate
Preceded by
Kay Bailey Hutchison
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Texas
Served alongside: John Cornyn
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Tim Kaine
United States senators by seniority
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Elizabeth Warren