US Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz to announce presidential bid: Report

WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States Senator and Tea Party favourite Ted Cruz is expected Monday to confirm plans to run for president in 2016, the Houston Chronicle reported on Saturday.

The Texas Republican will announce his presidential bid - as opposed to forming a preliminary exploratory committee - at a convocation ceremony at Liberty University in Virginia, according to senior advisors speaking to the newspaper.

Senator Cruz, 44, will be the first Republican to officially confirm plans to run in the next presidential election, though others, including Mr Jeb Bush, have signalled they could join the race.

The advisors told the newspaper that Mr Cruz will aim to raise between US$40 million (S$55 million) and US$50 million for his campaign, and will rely on support from his Tea Party base that voted him in as senator in 2012.

The grassroots Tea Party favourite will run as a proud conservative and is eager to court voters that share his values, the advisers said.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last month, Mr Cruz told the crowd that "2016 looks like it's going to be a crowded race".

Republican Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio have also hinted at their own White House interests.

Mr Cruz has raised hackles in his own party in recent years when he helped push the US government into shutdown over budget fights, and for opposing Republican leadership on a series of issues.

He is an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama's administration and its allies, and has already lashed out at potential presidential competitors from the Democratic party, including Mrs Hillary Clinton, who he said "embodies the corruption of Washington".

On his website, Mr Cruz is described as "a passionate fighter for limited government, economic growth and the Constitution".

A CPAC straw poll conducted in February placed Mr Cruz in third place as the party's pick for president, behind Kentucky Senator Paul and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

Mr Bush, a former governor and the son and brother of former presidents, came in fifth.

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