Birthdate: Dec. 22, 1970
Birth Place: Calgary, Alberta, , Canada
Residence: Houston, TX
Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, in the Canadian state of Alberta, where his parents lived while working in the oil business. His father, Rafael, was born in Cuba and fought with Fidel Castro's rebels before they triumphed and embraced communism. The elder Cruz arrived in Austin, Texas, in 1957 speaking no English and with no money except the $100 he sewed into his underwear before fleeing Cuba. He washed dishes to help pay for his schooling at the University of Texas. Ted Cruz grew up far more affluently and attended high school in Houston.
Cruz received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a law degree from Harvard University, where he was the primary editor of the Law Review and founding editor of the Latino Law Review.
Cruz worked on George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign and when Bush took office, he made Cruz an associate deputy attorney general.
In 2003, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appointed Cruz to state solicitor general, chief lawyer for the state. While in office, Cruz was the youngest solicitor general in the nation, and the five years he stayed in the post made him the longest serving solicitor general in Texas history.
Cruz served as a partner at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Houston, where he led the firm's U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice. He filed to run for the Republican nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in January 2011.
Cruz and his wife, Heidi, have two daughters.
Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite, pulled off a stunning political upset in July 2012, beating Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the mainstream Republican choice, in a runoff election for the GOP nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. It was no mean feat for a little-known Houston attorney who was polling 2 percent statewide when he announced his candidacy for the Senate in January 2011.
Cruz spent months crisscrossing Texas and meeting with tea party, religious and Republican women's groups that Dewhurst and other senatorial candidates never reached out to. Still, the race seemed a slam-dunk for Dewhurst until the final days before the runoff.
Cruz prevailed by an astounding 13 percentage points to advance to the November general election. Dewhurst was backed by popular Gov. Rick Perry and much of the state's Republican establishment. Cruz, meanwhile, was endorsed by out-of-state tea party superstars, including U.S. Sens. Jim DeMint and Rand Paul, as well as ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Cruz also received millions of dollars in funding from national conservative groups, including the anti-tax Club for Growth, which targeted Dewhurst as too moderate.
Dewhurst, who has served as lieutenant governor since 2003, helped guide some of the most-conservative legislative sessions in Texas history. He and Cruz disagreed on very little, either politically or ideologically. But Cruz was able to paint his opponent as a wishy-washy driver of the status quo.
A former Ivy League debate champion, Cruz made grassroots gatherings across the state swoon with a spellbinding oratory that played up his pledges to cut federal spending and defend gun ownership rights. Dewhurst beat Cruz by 10 percentage points during the state's May 2012 primary, but failed to capture a majority in a nine-Republican field. Simply making it to a second round of voting proved to be a huge momentum-builder and fundraising boon for Cruz. Palin roared into suburban Houston shortly before the July runoff to help push him over the top.
The son of a Cuban immigrant, Cruz has drawn comparisons to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and is already being anointed by some national pundits as the first tea party intellectual to take the national stage. But unlike Rubio, who served in the Florida Legislature before being elected to the U.S. Senate, Cruz was a political novice before beating Dewhurst. He was appointed Texas solicitor general, serving as a chief lawyer for the state, by Attorney General Greg Abbott, in 2003 and held the post until 2008.
A Harvard-trained lawyer, Cruz strikes a brand of angry populism that energizes Texas conservatives. He promises that as a senator he will not "bring home the goodies" to his state, but work to ensure Washington puts its financial house in order and oppose President Barack Obama at every turn. His animosity toward earmarks would be an important break from the woman Cruz is trying to succeed, Hutchison, who has long been a champion of military bases in her state.
Source: Associated Press