Ted Cruz

Rafael Edward Cruz (/krz/; born December 22, 1970) is an American politician and attorney serving as the junior United States Senator for Texas since 2013. He was the runner-up for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

Ted Cruz
United States Senator
from Texas
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Serving with John Cornyn
Preceded byKay Bailey Hutchison
3rd Solicitor General of Texas
In office
January 9, 2003  May 12, 2008
GovernorRick Perry
Preceded byJulie Parsley
Succeeded byJames C. Ho
Personal details
Rafael Edward Cruz

(1970-12-22) December 22, 1970
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Political partyRepublican
Heidi Nelson (m. 2001)
RelativesRafael Cruz (father)
EducationPrinceton University (BA)
Harvard University (JD)
WebsiteSenate website

Cruz holds degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. From 1999 to 2003, he held various government positions, serving as Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice, and as a Domestic Policy Advisor to George W. Bush during Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. Cruz served as Solicitor General of Texas from 2003 to 2008, having been appointed by Texas Attorney General and later Governor Greg Abbott. He was the longest-serving solicitor general in Texas history and the first Hispanic American to serve in that capacity. From 2004 to 2009, Cruz was an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, where he taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation.

In 2012, Cruz ran for and won the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison. He is the first Hispanic American to serve as a U.S. Senator from Texas. In 2016, Cruz ran for President of the United States, winning Republican contests in 12 states before withdrawing from the race. He was reelected to the Senate in 2018, defeating Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke by a slim margin of 50.9% to 48.3% in the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history. Along with Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio, Cruz is one of three current U.S. Senators of Cuban descent.

Early life and family

Cruz was born Rafael Edward Cruz on December 22, 1970,[1][2] at Foothills Medical Centre[3][4] in Calgary, Alberta, to Eleanor Elizabeth (née Darragh) Wilson and Rafael Cruz.[5][6][7][8] Eleanor Wilson was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She is of three-quarters Irish and one-quarter Italian descent, and earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Rice University in the 1950s.[9]

Cruz's father was born and raised in Cuba. He left in 1957 to attend the University of Texas at Austin and obtained political asylum in the U.S. after his four-year student visa expired.[10] He earned Canadian citizenship in 1973[3] and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005.[7][11][12]

At the time of his birth, Ted 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.[7][13][14][15][16] Cruz has said that he is the son of "two mathematicians/computer programmers."[17] In 1974, Cruz's father left the family and moved to Texas.[18] Later that year, Cruz's parents reconciled and relocated the family to Houston.[3] They divorced in 1997.[19] Cruz has two older half-sisters, Miriam Ceferina Cruz and Roxana Lourdes Cruz, from his father's first marriage. Miriam died in 2011.[19][20][21]


Cruz attended two private high schools: Faith West Academy, near Katy, Texas;[22] and Second Baptist High School in Houston, from which he graduated as valedictorian in 1988.[11][23][24]

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.[16][25]

Cruz graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in public policy[26] from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.[1][27] 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.[28] In 1992, he was named U.S. National Speaker of the Year and, with his debate partner David Panton, Team of the Year by the American Parliamentary Debate Association.[28] Cruz and Panton later represented Harvard Law School at the 1995 World Debating Championship, losing in the semifinals to a team from Australia.[29][30][31] Princeton's debate team named their annual novice championship after Cruz.[31]

Cruz's senior thesis at Princeton investigated the separation of powers; its title, Clipping the Wings of Angels, was inspired by a passage attributed to 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 their constituents' rights, and that the last two items in the Bill of Rights offer an explicit stop against an all-powerful state.[9][32]

After graduating from Princeton, Cruz attended Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1995 with a Juris Doctor degree.[1][33] 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.[27] Referring to Cruz's time as a student at Harvard Law, Professor Alan Dershowitz said, "Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant".[34][35][36][37] At Harvard Law, Cruz was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics.[38]

Cruz serves on the Board of Advisors of the Texas Review of Law and Politics.[39]


Cruz served as a law clerk to J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1995[38][40] and to William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States, in 1996.[1] He was the first Hispanic to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.[41]

Private practice

After Cruz finished his clerkships, he took a position with Cooper, Carvin & Rosenthal, now known as Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, from 1997 to 1998.[42] At the firm, Cruz worked on matters relating to the National Rifle Association and helped prepare testimony for the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton.[43] In 1998, Cruz was briefly one of the attorneys who represented Representative John Boehner during his litigation against Representative Jim McDermott over the alleged leak of an illegal recording of a phone conversation whose participants included Boehner.[44][45]

Bush administration

Cruz joined the George W. Bush presidential campaign in 1999 as a domestic policy adviser, advising then-Governor Bush on a wide range of policy and legal matters, including civil justice, criminal justice, constitutional law, immigration, and government reform.[42] During the 2000 Florida presidential recounts, he 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.[38][46] Cruz recruited future Chief Justice John Roberts and noted attorney Mike Carvin to Bush's legal team.[43]

After Bush took office, Cruz served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the U.S. Justice Department[1][46] and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.[1][34][46]

Texas Solicitor General

Appointed to the office of Solicitor General of Texas by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott,[40][47] Cruz served in that position from 2003 to 2008.[25][38] The office was 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.[43]

Cruz authored 70 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments.[34][40][48] His nine appearances before the Supreme Court are the most by any practicing lawyer in Texas or current member of Congress.[49] Cruz has said, "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."[49]

In 2003, while Cruz was Texas Solicitor General, the Texas Attorney General's office declined to defend Texas's sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state laws banning homosexual sex were unconstitutional.[50]

In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by the attorneys general of 31 states arguing that the Washington, D.C. handgun ban should be struck down as infringing upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.[48][51] He 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.[48][52]

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.[34][38][48]

In 2004, Cruz was involved in the high-profile case surrounding a challenge to the constitutionality of public schools' requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (including the words "under God", legally a part of the Pledge since 1954), Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow.[34][38] He wrote a brief on behalf of all 50 states that argued that the plaintiff, a non-custodial parent, did not have standing to file suit on his daughter's behalf.[53] The Supreme Court upheld the position of Cruz's brief.[54]

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.[38][55]

In Medellin v. Texas, Cruz successfully defended Texas against an attempt to reopen the cases of 51 Mexican nationals, all of whom were convicted of murder in the United States and on death row.[34][38][40][48] 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.[43][56] 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.[57] 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.[43][56]

Michael Wayne Haley was arrested for stealing a calculator from Walmart in 1997.[58] Because of Haley's previous criminal convictions, he was sentenced to 16-and-a-half years in prison under the Texas habitual offender law. After Haley had exhausted his appeals, it became known that Haley's robbery offense occurred three days before one of his other convictions was finalized; this raised a question about the applicability of the habitual offender statute in his case. As Solicitor General, Cruz declined to vacate Haley's sentence, saying "I think justice is being done because he had a full and fair trial and an opportunity to raise his errors."[59] 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.[59] After remand, Haley was re-sentenced to "time served".[60]

In 2008 American Lawyer magazine named Cruz one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America,[47][61] and The National Law Journal named him one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America.[62][63] In 2010 Texas Lawyer named him one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.[64][65]

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.[9][38][66] At Morgan Lewis, he led the firm's U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.[66] In 2010, he abandoned a bid for state attorney general when incumbent Attorney General Greg Abbott, who hired Cruz as Solicitor General, decided to run for reelection.[11]

At Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Cruz represented Pfizer in a lawsuit brought by a group of public hospitals and community health centers, who accused Pfizer of overcharging.[67] 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.[68] 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.[68] 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.[69] Cruz unsuccessfully argued the judge's jurisdiction expired 30 days after the case was dismissed following an out-of-court settlement, but later won a second appeal using the same argument.[70]

Cruz defended two record-setting $54-million personal injury awards in New Mexico at the appellate level, including one that had been thrown out by a lower court.[71] He represented a mentally disabled man who was allegedly raped by an employee of the facility where he lived, and the family of a 78-year-old resident of an Albuquerque nursing home who died of internal bleeding.[71][72] The settlements were sealed in both cases.[71][72]

U.S. Senate

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".[73] On January 19, 2011, after U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she would not seek reelection, Cruz announced his candidacy via a blogger conference call.[74] In the Republican senatorial primary, Cruz ran against sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Cruz was endorsed first by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin[75] and then by the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative political action committee;[76] Erick Erickson, former editor of prominent conservative blog RedState,[77] the FreedomWorks for America super PAC,[78] nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin,[79] Tea Party Express,[80] Young Conservatives of Texas,[81] and U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint,[82] Mike Lee,[83] Rand Paul[84] and Pat Toomey.[85] He was also endorsed by former Texas Congressman Ron Paul,[86] George P. Bush,[46] and former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.[87] Former Attorney General Edwin Meese served as national chairman of Cruz's campaign.[46]

Cruz won the runoff for the Republican nomination by a 14-point margin over Dewhurst, support for Dewhurst having plummeted while Cruz's vote total dramatically increased from the first round.[88] Cruz won despite being outspent by Dewhurst, who held a statewide elected office,[89] $19 million to $7 million.[89][90]

In the November 6 general election, Cruz faced Democratic nominee 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.[91] 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.[92][93]

After Time magazine reported that Cruz might have violated ethics rules by failing to publicly disclose his financial relationship with Caribbean Equity Partners Investment Holdings during the 2012 campaign, he called his failure to disclose the connection an inadvertent omission.[94]

In January 2016, The New York Times reported that Cruz and his wife had taken out nearly $1 million in low-interest loans from Goldman Sachs (where she worked) and Citibank, and failed to report them on Federal Election Commission disclosure statements as required by law.[95] Cruz disclosed the loans on his Senate financial disclosure forms in July 2012, but not on the FEC form.[96] There is no indication that Cruz's wife had any role in providing any of the loans, or that the banks did anything wrong.[96] 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 that he would file supplementary paperwork.[95]


As of November 2018, Cruz has sponsored 105 bills of his own, including:[97]

  • 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 had a leading role in the October 2013 government shutdown.[98][99][100] Cruz gave a 21-hour Senate speech in an effort to hold up a federal budget bill and thereby defund the Affordable Care Act.[99][101][102] During the speech, Cruz quoted from the book "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss.[103] Cruz persuaded the House of Representatives and House Speaker John Boehner to include an ACA defunding provision in the bill.[100] In the U.S. Senate, former Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked the filibuster attempt because only 18 Republican Senators supported the filibuster.[100] To supporters, the move "signaled the depth of Cruz's commitment to rein in government".[99] 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, primarily for his filibuster against the Affordable Care Act.[104] Cruz was also named "2013 Man of the Year" by conservative publications TheBlaze,[105] FrontPage Magazine,[106] and The American Spectator,[107] "2013 Conservative of the Year" by Townhall.com,[108] and "2013 Statesman of the Year" by the Republican Party of Sarasota County, Florida.[109][110] He was a finalist for Time magazine's "Person of the Year" in 2013.[111] To critics, including some Republican colleagues[100] such as Senator Lindsey Graham, the move was ineffective.[99]

Cruz has consistently denied any involvement in the 2013 government shutdown, even though he cast several votes to prolong it and was blamed by many within his own party for prompting it.[112][113]

S. 2195

On April 1, 2014, Cruz introduced S. 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 or terrorist activity against the United States or its allies and may pose a threat to U.S. national security interests.[114] The bill was written in response to Iran's choice of Hamid Aboutalebi as its ambassador.[115] 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.[115][116][117]

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".[118][119][120]

Committee assignments

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.[121]

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".[122] 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.[122] 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."[122]

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".[123] 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."[123] Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also criticized Cruz for his remarks, writing that although he, too, opposed the Iran agreement, Cruz's statement connecting Obama to terrorism was "way over the line" and "hurts the cause".[124][125]

After the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Cruz expressed his view that the winner of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, rather than Obama, should appoint a new Justice.[126] 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 watchlist.[127] 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" to radical Islamists.[128] With the passing of Fidel Castro in November, Cruz charged Obama with celebrating and lionizing Castro in public statements he made addressing the death.[129] 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 that condemned Israeli settlements "on land meant to be part of a future Palestinian state", Cruz denounced the speech as "disgraceful", and said that history would remember Obama and Kerry as "relentless enemies of Israel". Cruz also accused the Obama administration of having a "radical anti-Israel agenda".[130]

Comments on President Trump

Cruz, who was one of Donald Trump's most vocal critics during the 2016 presidential campaign, became an important ally of President Trump's in the Senate.[131][132]

In late January 2017, after Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, Cruz praised Gorsuch as "brilliant and immensely talented" in a written statement.[133] On February 23, while speaking at the 2017 CPAC, Cruz showed interest in Trump nominating young justices in the mold of Scalia and Clarence Thomas.[134] On March 1, Cruz called Trump's joint address to Congress the previous day "positive" and "unifying".[135] Cruz said that during his visit to the Mar-a-Lago estate on March 18, he spoke with affiliates of Trump while negotiating the American Health Care Act.[136] On April 6, shortly after the Shayrat missile strike, Cruz released a statement displaying his interest in having Trump appeal to Congress to take "military action in Syria" to prevent Islamic terrorists from acquiring weapons stored in Syria.[137]

In April 2018, in the blurb for Trump's entry on the Time 100 most influential people of 2017, Cruz wrote, "President Trump is doing what he was elected to do: disrupt the status quo."[138] Cruz's authorship of the blurb was criticized by Charles Pierce of Esquire,[139] Jay Willis of GQ,[140] and CNN's Chris Cillizza.[138]

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.[141][142] In 2013, Cruz called Republicans he thought were insufficiently resistant to Obama's proposals a "surrender caucus".[141] He also called fellow Republicans out as "squishes" on gun-control issues during a Tea Party rally.[141] Cruz's role in the United States federal government shutdown of 2013 in particular attracted criticism from a number of Republican colleagues.[142] Republican Senator John McCain was reported to have particularly disliked Cruz; in a Senate floor speech in 2013, McCain denounced Cruz's reference to Nazis when discussing the Affordable Care Act.[142] In March 2013, McCain also called Cruz and others "wacko birds" whose beliefs are not "reflective of the views of the majority of Republicans".[142] During the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, John Boehner described Cruz as "Lucifer in the flesh",[143] while during an interview, Lindsey Graham said, "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you."[144]

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.[145] Cruz's "incendiary outburst" was "unusual in the cordial atmosphere of the Senate", according to Reuters.[145][146] In the same speech, Cruz assailed the "Republican majority in both houses of Congresses" for what Cruz called an insufficiently conservative record.[146] Cruz's speech, and especially his accusation against McConnell, was condemned by various senior Republican senators, with McCain saying that the speech was "outside the realm of Senate behavior" and "a very wrong thing to do".[147] 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."[148] Cruz 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; McConnell denied there was any "deal", and that denial was what Cruz called a "lie". Hatch said McConnell did pledge to help Cantwell get a vote on the Ex-Im Bank.[149]

Among Cruz's few close allies in the Senate is Mike Lee of Utah.[150][151] 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".[152]

When Boehner announced in September 2015 that he would step down and resign from the House, Cruz expressed his concern that before resigning Boehner might have "cut a deal with Nancy Pelosi to fund the Obama administration for the rest of its tenure".[153] The following month, the budget agreement passed in the House by a vote of 266 to 187, with unanimous support from Democrats and Boehner, lifting the debt ceiling through March 2017, and Cruz called the agreement "complete and utter surrender".[154]

Cruz is one of the Senate Republicans in favor of the "nuclear option", "to speed up consideration of President Trump's nominees". Changing the Senate's rules to a simple majority vote would "ensure a quicker pace on Trump's court picks".[155]

2018 election

Cruz ran for reelection to a second term in 2018.[156] The primary elections for both parties were held on March 6, 2018.[157] He easily won the Republican nomination with over 80% of the vote. He faced the Democratic nominee, U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke, in the general election.[158] The contest was unusually competitive for an election in Texas, with most polls showing Cruz only slightly ahead of O'Rourke. The race received significant media attention[159] and became the most expensive U.S. Senate election in history.[160]

On November 6, 2018, Cruz defeated O'Rourke by a margin of 50.9% to 48.3%.[161]

2016 presidential campaign

As early as 2013, Cruz was widely expected to run for the presidency in 2016.[162][163][164] On March 14, 2013, he gave the keynote speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington DC.[165] He tied for 7th place in the 2013 CPAC straw poll on March 16, winning 4% of the votes cast.[166] In October 2013, Cruz won the Values Voter Summit presidential straw poll with 42% of the vote.[167] Cruz finished first in two presidential straw polls conducted in 2014 with 30.33% of the vote at the Republican Leadership Conference[168] and 43% of the vote at the Republican Party of Texas state convention.[169]

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.[170] Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin described Cruz as the first potential presidential candidate to emphasize originalism as a major national issue.[43]

On April 12, 2014, Cruz spoke at the Freedom Summit, an event organized by Americans for Prosperity and Citizens United.[171] The event was attended by several potential presidential candidates.[172] 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.[171]

Cruz delivered one of many State of the Union responses in January 2015.[173]

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.[174] Also, at the same hour, he posted on his Twitter page: "I'm running for President and I hope to earn your support!"[175] He was the first announced major Republican presidential candidate for the 2016 campaign.[176][177] 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.[178][179]

HarperCollins published Cruz's book A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America on June 30, 2015.[180] The book reached the bestseller list of several organizations in its first week of release.[181][182]

Primary wins

In the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, Cruz received over 7.8 million votes,[183][184] won 12 states, and earned 559 delegates.[185] He raised nearly $92 million, a record for a GOP primary candidate, much of it from small online donors. The Cruz campaign had more than 325,000 volunteers.[186]

On February 1, 2016, Cruz won the Iowa caucuses.[187] The Iowa win made him the first Hispanic to win either a presidential primary election or caucus.[187][188][189] Cruz received 28% of the vote.[189] On February 10, 2016, Cruz placed third in the New Hampshire primary, with about 12% of the vote.[190] On February 21, 2016, he placed third in the South Carolina Republican primary with about 22.3% of the vote.[191]

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.[192] In the Texas primary, Cruz received the most votes in all but six of the state's 254 counties.[193] On March 5, 2016, Cruz won the Kansas and Maine caucuses, giving him six statewide wins.[194][195][196]

Cruz won his widest margin up to that point in Kansas, where he beat frontrunner Donald Trump by 25 points.[197] 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.[198][199]

On March 8, 2016, Cruz won the Idaho primary with 45% of vote—defeating Trump by 17% and earning his seventh statewide victory.[200] He placed second in Michigan, Mississippi, and Hawaii.[200] On March 12, 2016, Cruz won the Wyoming county conventions with 67% of the vote and 9 delegates, giving him his eighth statewide win.[201]

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%.[202] 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.[203]

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.[204][205][206][207] 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.[208] 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.[209] Shortly after losing overwhelmingly to Trump in the Indiana primary on May 3, 2016, Cruz officially announced his decision to suspend his campaign.[210]


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.[211] In August 2013, after the Dallas Morning News pointed out that Cruz had dual Canadian-American citizenship,[212][213] he applied to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship and ceased being a citizen of Canada on May 14, 2014.[211][214]

Several lawsuits and ballot challenges asserting that Cruz is ineligible to become U.S. president have been filed.[215][216][217][218][219][220][221] 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."[222]

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,[223] which Trump instead won.[224]

In the months following, several publications noted that Cruz still had not endorsed Trump,[225][226] Cruz explaining in June that he was "watching and assessing" to determine if he would support him in the forthcoming general election.[227] On July 7, after a meeting with Trump, Cruz confirmed that he would be speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention.[228]

In his speech on July 20, the third day of the convention, Cruz congratulated Trump but did not endorse him. He instead 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.[229] 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.'"[230][231] Two months later, on September 23, 2016, Cruz publicly endorsed Trump for president.[232]

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".[233] 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.[234] 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.[235]

Cruz has been backed by the billionaire Mercer family, including Robert and his daughter Rebekah.[236]

Political positions


Cruz is a critic of the rapprochement between Communist 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".[237]

In July 2018, Cruz spoke at the Rally for Religious Freedom in Asia. Cruz said, "'It is a pleasure to be here and stand in solidarity for the men and women across this globe who have been persecuted by communists... We must stand united, in shining light, in highlighting heroism, in highlighting courage, in speaking out for those like my family, like so many millions across the globe who've seen the jackboot of communism firsthand.'"[238]

Crime, guns, and drug policy

Cruz has called for an end to "overcriminalization, harsh mandatory minimum sentences, and the demise of jury trials".[239] He supports the death penalty.[240] 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.[241] Cruz has referred to Medellín as the most important case of his tenure as Texas solicitor general.[241]

Cruz is a gun-rights supporter,[242] and opposes expanding gun control regulations.[243]

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.[244]

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."[245]

Cruz opposes the legalization of marijuana, but believes it should be decided at the state level.[246] 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."[247]


Cruz has been described by the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies as a "free trader"[248] and as a "free-trade advocate" by The Wall Street Journal.[249] 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".[250] Cruz is "adamantly opposed to a higher minimum wage".[251]

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.[252]


Cruz is a proponent of school choice[253] and opposes the Common Core State Standards Initiative.[254]

Energy and environment

Cruz rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.[255][256] He has said that "the scientific evidence doesn't support global warming".[257] 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."[257] 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.[256][257][258]

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.[259][260] 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".[261] Cruz stated that the Corps' responsibilities were expanded without providing adequate measures for state participation.[261] 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.[262]

In 2017, Cruz was one of 22 senators to sign a letter[263] to President Donald Trump urging the President to have the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Cruz has received more than $2.5 million in campaign contributions from oil, gas and coal interests since 2012.[264] Cruz has a lifetime score of 3% on the National Environmental Scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters.[265]

Cruz is a supporter of TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline,[266] and along with every other Republican senator was a cosponsor of legislation in support of the pipeline.[267]

Federal Reserve

In a 2014 opinion editorial in USA Today, Cruz wrote that auditing the Federal Reserve System was a top Republican priority in 2015 and that he supported legislation that would allow the Government Accountability Office to evaluate the Federal Reserve's monetary policy. Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen, whose confirmation Cruz had tried to prevent, said in her confirmation hearing that she opposed any audit of the Federal Reserve and that "For 50 years Congress has recognized that there should be an exception to GAO ability to audit the Fed to avoid any political interference in monetary policy."[268][269]

Foreign affairs

In 2015, Cruz voted in favor of the USA Freedom Act, which reauthorized the USA Patriot Act but reformed some of its provisions.[270][271]

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".[272][273]

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".[274] 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". 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."[275]

In September 2016, Cruz backed the Obama administration's plan to sell more than $1.15 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia.[276]

In early January 2017, Cruz, along with Texas governor Greg Abbott and some others met with the Taiwanese president, 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 Tsai.[277][278][279]

On January 5, 2017, Cruz voted in favor of a House resolution condemning UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories as a violation of international law.[280]

In June 2017, Cruz co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (s. 720), which would make it a federal crime for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank if protesting actions by the Israeli government.[281][282]

In August 2018, Cruz and 16 other lawmakers urged the Trump administration to impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act against Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority in western China's Xinjiang region.[283] They wrote: "The detention of as many as a million or more Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in "political reeducation” centers or camps requires a tough, targeted, and global response."[284]

On December 18, 2018, Cruz and Senator Tom Cotton put forth a resolution in the U.S. Senate urging the United States to affirm Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.[285]

Health care

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 was part of the group of 13 Senators that drafted the Senate version of the AHCA behind closed doors.[286][287][288][289]

Hurricane aid

In 2013, Cruz voted against the bill to provide a package of federal aid to the East Coast for recovery from Hurricane Sandy.[290] Cruz said that he did not vote for Sandy disaster relief because the bill was "filled with unrelated pork" and that "two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy". The Washington Post disputed this, writing "The bill was largely aimed at dealing with Sandy, along with relatively minor items to address other or future disasters."[291] The New York Times wrote that "Of 23 examples of extraneous spending that a spokesman for Mr. Cruz provided, all but one — $195 million in discretionary funds for the secretary of health and human services — were Sandy-related or sought to mitigate future storms, as the law required."[292]

In 2015, in the wake of fatal flooding in Texas, Cruz supported federal aid funding; in 2017, he called for federal intervention as Hurricane Harvey approached the coast of Texas.[293]


Cruz adopted a "hard-line stance" on immigration issues during the 2014 border crisis[294] and is an opponent of comprehensive immigration reform.[43][294] Cruz advocates for an increase from 65,000 to 325,000 annually in skilled foreign workers entering the United States using H-1B visas.[295]

According to McClatchy, Cruz staked out "hard-right immigration stances" during his 2016 campaign for the Republican nomination for President.[296]

Cruz opposes providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children (so-called DREAMers).[297] In February 2018, he was the sole Senator to oppose a Republican motion to begin debate on legislation intended to resolve the question of what to do with DREAMers.[298]

Cruz has called for the repeal of the clause of the 14th amendment, which grants citizenship to those born in the United States.[299]

Cruz defended the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their parents.[300][301] Cruz blamed the migrant parents for crossing the US border to seek asylum and argued that the Obama administration had the same policy.[300][301]

Net neutrality

Cruz opposes net neutrality—which prevents Internet service providers from deliberately blocking or slowing particular websites—arguing that the Internet economy has flourished in the United States simply because it has remained largely free from government regulation.[302] Cruz has argued that net neutrality is the "Obamacare for the internet".[303][304] Cruz said that the Obama-era implementation of the principle of net neutrality had the "end result" of "less broadband, less innovation, and less freedom for the American consumer".[304] In December 2017, after the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission repealed net neutrality, Cruz mocked supporters of net neutrality as "snowflakes" who were misled by "online propaganda".[305]

Social issues

On abortion, Cruz is "strongly pro-life" and "would allow the procedure only when a pregnancy endangers the mother's life".[306][307] He is in favor of cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood.[308]

Cruz opposes both same-sex marriage and civil unions.[309] He believes that marriage should be legally defined as only "between one man and one woman",[310] but believes that the legality of same-sex marriage should be left to each state to decide.[311] 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.[312]

Personal life

Cruz married Heidi Nelson on May 27, 2001; [313] they have two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.[314] The couple met when Cruz was working on George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. Heidi took leave from her position as head of the Southwest Region in the Investment Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. in 2016 to support Ted Cruz's run for the U.S. president.[315] She previously worked in the White House for Condoleezza Rice and in New York as an investment banker.[316]

Cruz has joked, "I'm Cuban, Irish, and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern Baptist."[317]

Electoral history

Republican primary results[318]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David Dewhurst 627,731 44.63
Republican Ted Cruz 480,558 34.16
Republican Tom Leppert 187,900 13.36
Republican Craig James 50,569 3.60
Republican Glenn Addison 23,177 1.65
Republican Lela Pittenger 18,143 1.29
Republican Ben Gambini 7,225 0.51
Republican Curt Cleaver 6,671 0.47
Republican Joe Argis 4,674 0.33
Total votes 1,406,648 100
Republican runoff results[319]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Cruz 631,812 56.82
Republican David Dewhurst 480,126 43.18
Total votes 1,111,938 100
United States Senate election in Texas, 2012[320]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Ted Cruz 4,440,137 56.46% -5.23%
Democratic Paul Sadler 3,194,927 40.62% +4.58%
Libertarian John Jay Myers 162,354 2.06% -0.20%
Green David Collins 67,404 0.86% N/A
Total votes 7,864,822 100.0% N/A
Republican hold
Republican primary results, Texas 2018[321]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Cruz (incumbent) 1,322,724 85.36%
Republican Mary Miller 94,715 6.11%
Republican Bruce Jacobson, Jr. 64,791 4.18%
Republican Stefano de Stefano 44,456 2.87%
Republican Geraldine Sam 22,887 1.48%
Total votes 1,549,573 100%
United States Senate election in Texas, 2018[322]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Ted Cruz (incumbent) 4,260,553 50.89% -5.57%
Democratic Beto O'Rourke 4,045,632 48.33% +7.71%
Libertarian Neal Dikeman 65,470 0.78% -1.28%
Total votes 8,371,655 100% N/A
Republican hold

See also


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Legal offices
Preceded by
Julie Parsley
Solicitor General of Texas
Succeeded by
James C. Ho
Party political offices
Preceded by
Kay Bailey Hutchison
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Texas
(Class 1)

2012, 2018
Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Kay Bailey Hutchison
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Texas
Served alongside: John Cornyn
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tim Kaine
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Elizabeth Warren
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