And they’re off: Ted Cruz, via Twitter, announces presidential bid | Reuters

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

(Reuters) – Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a conservative firebrand who frequently clashes with leaders of his Republican Party, became the first major figure from either party to jump into the 2016 U.S. presidential election race on Monday when he announced his candidacy on Twitter.

“I’m running for President and I hope to earn your support!” Cruz said on his official Twitter page, an unusual forum for presidential candidates to announce such plans.

The message was accompanied by a 30-second video in which Cruz said: “I believe in America and her people, and I believe we can stand up and restore our promise.” American scenes from southwestern landscapes to the Golden Gate Bridge were also shown.

“It’s going to take a new generation of courageous conservatives to help make America great again,” Cruz said, adding that he was ready “to lead the fight.”

Cruz was expected to speak on Monday at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia, according to an aide, giving the Tea Party favorite a head start on what is likely to be a crowded field of Republican White House contenders.

Cruz, 44, has built a reputation as an unyielding advocate for conservative principles in his two years in the Senate. As a presidential candidate, he is likely to portray himself as the most reliable proponent of small government.

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