8 Things To Know About Ted Cruz

On Monday morning, Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for President of the United States — becoming the first major politician to formally declare their intention of running for the office in 2016. Cruz, a Cuban-American, has served as a Republican Senator from Texas since 2012, and has become a key political player in Washington since his election. 

However, despite his brash speeches, many know little about the 44-year-old politician. Below, learn eight things about the Latino presidential contender: 

MORE: Funny or Die spoofs Ted Cruz's campaign ad.

1. Ted Cruz: 1

Ted Cruz isn't his real name: Born to a Canadian mother and Cuban father, Ted Cruz's full name is actually Rafael Edward Cruz. According to The Washington Post, he changed his name to "Ted" in his early teens when he grew tired of friends and classmates mispronouncing his Spanish name. 


2. Ted Cruz: 2

No, Cruz was not born in the United States of America: However, most constitutional scholars agree that he qualifies as a "natural born citizen" and can legally become President of the United States.

Born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Cruz and his family moved to Texas early in his childhood. He grew up there, and later attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Because Cruz has an American-born mother, he most likely qualifies as a natural born citizen. He even renounced his Canadian citizenship. 


3. Ted Cruz: 3

He's set multiple records as a Hispanic in politics: In 1996, he became the first Latino to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States when he served as a law clark for William Rehnquist.

In 2003, he became the first Hispanic, the youngest and the longest-serving solicitor general in Texas history. Notably, he was also the first Latino and first Cuban to serve as U.S. Senator from Texas. 


4. Ted Cruz: 4

He's married with two daughters: Ted Cruz has been married to Heidi Nelson Cruz since 2000. His wife, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, handles portfolios for clients with an average net worth of $40 million.

Together, they have two children, Catherine, 4, and Caroline, 6. You may remember he read Green Eggs and Ham to his two daughters during a 21-hour "filibuster" on the Senate floor aimed at derailing President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law.

5. Ted Cruz: 5

He's gained a reputation for being anti-immigrant — with good reason: Ted Cruz will likely blast his Republican rivals on their immigration record. Despite being Latino and the son of an immigrant, Cruz is a staunch opponent of "amnesty" policies. He wants to block any current effort that lets undocumented immigrants legally remain in the United States, and stressed his opposition to Obama's executive action

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He currently trails other potential Republican candidates in the polls: According to RealClearPoliticsCruz trails Jeb Bush, Scott WalkerBen CarsonMike HuckabeeRand PaulChris Christie and fellow Cuban-American Marco Rubio


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He just signed up for Obamacare, despite his opposition: Ted Cruz recently admitted that he and his family would be using HealthCare.gov to get their healthcare coverage during the campaign season. With his wife stepping away from her job at Goldman Sachs temporarily, Cruz and his family will be forced to use Obamacare — thanks to a Republican amendment to the law which states that members of Congress and their staffs must get insurance through Obamacare exchanges. However, as The Wasington Post notes, alternatives do exist for the Senator. 

8. Ted Cruz: 8

He surpassed initial expectations for his campaign: The Texas Senator had an impressive start to his campaign. He intended to raise $1 million dollars in the first week of his campaign; he raised that amount in one dayThe Houston Chronicle reports that Cruz hopes to raise $40 to $50 million in the primaries, which would still vastly trail Jeb Bush. Some have (privately) speculated that Bush could raise as much as $500 million by June.