Republican Ted Cruz launches 2016 race with White House bid

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2015 22:06 IST

Ted Cruz is a man in a hurry. He couldn’t wait to announce his run for the White House, tweeting it Sunday night, scooping his own official announcement by over 12 hours.

“I'm running for President and I hope to earn your support,” Cruz said in a tweet becoming thus the first serious politician in the race for the 2016 presidential election.

He followed that up with the Monday announcement.

Cruz is a first-time Republican senator from Texas who has acquired a reputation as a firebrand conservative not afraid to take on his own party’s leadership.

At 44, he is among the youngest in the senate. But he is not too young for the White House — John F Kennedy and Barack Obama got there around the same age.

Among other Republicans considering a run are senator Marco Rubio, who is slightly younger, and governors Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal, who are about the same age.

Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and son and brother of two former presidents, is way older at 62, with senator Rand Paul and governor Chris Christie in between, in their early 50s.

Bush, however, is the only other candidate who has made his intentions known somewhat, launching an exploratory committee last year, a step shy of the real thing.

The line-up on the Democratic side is waiting for former first lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton to announce her run — or not — expected in April.

If she decides to run, most pundits expect the rest of the field to melt away, including vice-president Joe Biden. But efforts are underway to draft others such as senator Elizabeth Warren.

But Clinton it will be, most likely. She had led every opinion poll so far, for both Democrats-only and combined fields, and is already the top target of every contender.

Donations to a non-profit she runs with her husband and daughter are already under attack, and so is her use of private email ID while she was secretary of state.

The Republican field, however, looks less settled. Cruz may be the first in, but that won’t make him the frontrunner — not with the party’s extreme right, not its establishment.

Rand Paul topped a straw poll at a recently concluded convention of conservatives, the party’s base. Walker came second, Cruz third, and Bush fifth.

Paul, Walker and Cruz are favorites of extreme conservatives, and remain divisive figures whose appeal to independent, non-committed voters has not been tested yet.

The party’s establishment, which has financial clout, seems to be veering away from right-wing bomb-throwers starting 2014 and may favor a moderate such as Bush.

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