Before his election to the Senate, Cruz had a career centered on practicing law at the highest level. A graduate of Harvard Law School and clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, Cruz led a Houston-based firm's Supreme Court practice, taught such litigation at the University of Texas and was charged with representing the state before the high court as its solicitor general. He also served in the George W. Bush administration, at both the Federal Trade Commission and as an associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.
Cruz became a favorite of tea party conservatives when for 21 hours and 19 minutes in September 2013, he stood in the Senate to urge Congress to cut off money for Obama's health care law. The speech, during which Cruz read the Dr. Seuss classic "Green Eggs and Ham" to his daughters, said to be watching their father at home, was partly behind a 16-day partial government shutdown the next month. Cruz argues he wants to make the 2016 presidential election a referendum on the health care law and his plans to institute a flat tax, rewriting and simplifying the income tax code. Along the way he wants to abolish the IRS and Education Department, undo the Iranian nuclear deal and build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico border.
Cruz was a collegiate debating champion at Princeton, and he has shown flashes of rhetorical flourish during the debates. He got one of the loudest ovations of any debate in October when he skewered questions being asked by the moderators. "How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?" Cruz asked as the crowd roared its approval. It's a clip his campaign now plays at town-hall meetings. But Cruz's aggressive debate strategy backfired when he questioned rival Donald Trump's adherence to liberal "New York values." Trump pivoted by blasting Cruz for not mentioning the bravery of first responders killed in the 9-11 attacks and how the city came together.
American Conservative Union Rating: Not rated
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: Not rated
(Last updated by The Associated Press on February 29, 2016.)