This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

Ted Cruz has announced his presidential campaign in a midnight tweet, becoming the first politician to officially jump into the race.

The Texas senator tweeted a 30-second video early Monday morning announcing he is "ready to stand with you to lead the fight."

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"It's a time for truth, a time to rise to the challenge just like Americans have always done," Cruz said in the video. "It's going to take a new generation of courageous conservatives to help make America great again."

The video, featuring pastoral landscapes and young students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, marked Cruz's opening pitch to the party.

Cruz released two more videos later Monday morning, including one spot, "Ted Cruz para Presidente" in Spanish. The other is a more formal, slightly longer introduction ad. The spot, just over two minutes long, goes into Cruz's biography as the son of his father, a Cuban immigrant, and his mother, a "pioneer in computer science, smashing glass ceilings at a time when women were discouraged from following their dream." Cruz also called out his "historic battle to defund Obamacare" in 2013, which culminated in a government shutdown.

The longer ad also features a shot of Cruz shaking hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "If you want more of the same, there'll be plenty to chose from," he says at the ad's conclusion. "But if you want real conservative change, and a proven record, I hope I can earn your support."

(RELATED: Ted Cruz Beat the GOP Establishment Once. Can He Do It Again?)

Cruz is expected to make his formal announcement in Lynchburg, Va., Monday during a speech at the evangelical Liberty University. Cruz's early announcement is likely to give him a leg up on what's expected to be a crowded field.

Cruz began his rapid rise to national recognition in 2012, when he beat establishment Republican David Dewhurst in the Senate primary. In the time since, Cruz has garnered a reputation on Capitol Hill as a no-compromise senator who led an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act in 2013 that eventually led to a government shutdown.

The late-night announcement didn't come as a surprise. After all, Cruz hyped it up himself, tweeting around 8 p.m. that "tonight around midnight there will be some news you won't want to miss." In the last few months, Cruz visited early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire, met with Republican activists and donors, and hired political strategists—all tell-tale signs of a presidential bid.

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Cruz's early entrance into the race may start to set the tone for the entire Republican party. Many strategists and party elders have argued the GOP needs to broaden its appeal and avoid a primary where candidates try and move to the right of one another on key issues. But Cruz, who takes a more conservative position than his potential competitors, could make it harder for more moderate candidates to avoid accusations that they're not conservative enough.

By getting in early, it appears Cruz has invited the rest of the candidates who have expressed interest to follow his lead—and pick their spot on the conservative spectrum.


Marina Koren contributed to this article

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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