Cruz, a tea party favorite who has bucked Washington’s Republican establishment, was the first major candidate to declare his White House bid. “I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America,” Cruz said in announcing his run on March 23. Cruz proposes a conservative agenda in which he would abolish the Internal Revenue Service and 25 other federal agencies; shrink the federal workforce and cut its pay; boost gun rights; oppose abortion and enhance religious liberty. Cruz called for barring Syrian Muslim refugees from the United States. He said as president he would “carpet bomb” ISIS into oblivion. On immigration, Cruz proposes to build a wall on the Mexico border and would crack down on illegal immigrants, but would not stage a mass deportation roundup.
Cruz, 45, a Republican, is a first-term Texas senator elected in 2012. Cruz graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School and clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. In 2000 Cruz was a domestic policy adviser to the George W. Bush presidential campaign and in the Bush administration he served as a Justice Department lawyer and Federal Trade Commission official. In 2003, he became Texas solicitor general and argued successfully before the Supreme Court for a death penalty sentence and the display of the Ten Commandments on state capitol grounds. Cruz was born in 1970 in Calgary, Canada, to a Cuban father and Irish-American mother, giving him dual citizenship. He renounced his Canadian citizenship in May, but has been challenged on his eligibility to run for president as a “natural born” citizen. Cruz and his wife Heidi have two daughters.