Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose combative approach to politics has helped guide the Republican Party’s right wing, will formally enter the 2016 presidential race on Monday, kicking off a primary-election debate about how aggressively conservative the GOP should be as it seeks to recapture the White House.

Aides to Mr. Cruz said he would announce his candidacy in a speech at a Christian university in Virginia, becoming the first major candidate of either party to do so and heightening his national visibility.

The announcement by Mr. Cruz marks the beginning of the primary election battle to define a Republican Party that is divided about the balance between ideology and pragmatism, and which is uncertain about who should lead it. His candidacy comes as recent polls indicate that none of the likely candidates has yet emerged as a bridge-building consensus choice among the party’s factions.

WHO IS TED CRUZ?

Cruz rose to political stardom in 2012 as a Tea Party candidate who secured the Republican nomination in the Texas Senate primary against then Lt. Gov. Ted Dewhurst, the establishment-backed candidate. In November of that year, Cruz won the Senate seat and is currently serving in his third year in the Senate.ted_cruz_quote

He has been an outspoken critic of President Obama’s immigration and healthcare plans. In 2013, he led a 21-hour filibuster on the Senate floor in protest against Obamacare just days before a government shutdown.

Cruz, a Cuban-American, was born in Calgary, Canada to an American mother and a father who fled Cuba in the 1950’s. Cruz held dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship until 2014 when he formally renounced his Canadian citizenship.

Cruz received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. From 2003 to 2008, he served as solicitor general in Texas.

Despite being a first-time presidential candidate, Cruz has some experience in national campaigns. In 2000, he served as a domestic policy adviser on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign.

Cruz has also worked at the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department, in addition to clerking for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

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