It looks like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will become the first major candidate to enter the presidential race.
After advisers fueled chatter about the Republican’s 2016 plans with a hyped speech planned Monday at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., the Houston Chronicle reported Sunday that Cruz will indeed announce that he intends to enter the race for the White House.
By doing so, Cruz will skip the exploratory phase of running for president and jump right into the race.
The paper cited Cruz advisers saying the campaign will hope to raise between $40 million and $50 million for the effort.
Monday’s announcement follows Cruz’s meteoric rise in the Republican party. Elected in just 2012, Cruz has repeatedly argued that his party needs to nominate a solid conservative to run against the Democratic Party’s candidate in 2016.
“If we present a milquetoast alternative, that is a path to defeat,” Cruz has said. “I agree very much with Ronald Reagan who says we paint not in pale pastels but bold colors. Give a choice and give people a reason to show up and fight and paint.”
In recent months, Cruz has acknowledged he has been “looking at the race very, very seriously.”
“And I will tell you — the encouragement, the support we are receiving from the grassroots, all across the country, has been breathtaking,” Cruz said earlier this year.
Should he enter the race, Cruz is expected to offer himself as the conservative alternative candidate to whomever the GOP establishment gets behind, possibly Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
A skilled orator who prefers to roam around stages like a pastor during speeches rather than stand behind podiums, Cruz is probably best known for the 21 hours and 19 minutes he railed against Obamacare on the Senate floor in 2013.
While a favorite of the conservative grassroots, the Texas senator has also been known to irk veteran GOP senators in his party, specifically Sen. John McCain and majority leader Mitch McConnell, which could make fundraising from big donors difficult.
And while Cruz will likely be able to count on a passionate base of activists for small donations, many conservatives have argued over the last 8 years that President Obama, who like Cruz was a first-term senator, didn’t have enough executive experience before running for the White House.
By making news about his 2016 plans at Liberty on Monday, it will indicate that he is going to make a serious effort to woo Christian conservatives, who make up an important part of the electorate in Iowa’s first in the nation caucuses.
While it seems a real possibility that Cruz could win a state like Iowa, the Real Clear Politics polling average in Iowa shows that the Republican will have some work to do: he trails potential rival candidatees Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum in the state’s polling average.