Cruz made a formal announcement Monday at Liberty University in Virginia. His announcement -- which came on the five-year anniversary of Obamacare -- was made at the largest Christian university in the world, and featured quite a bit of religious rhetoric.
"What is the promise of America?" Cruz said. "The idea that -- the revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty."
Cruz is the first high profile candidate to officially declare that he is running for president and will forego an exploratory committee.
Cruz, a favorite among conservatives and a frequent agitator of the GOP leadership in Congress, had been expected to declare his presidential bid for more than a year. He scoped out office space for a campaign headquarters in Houston, Texas, and terminated his Canadian citizenship in preparation.
The first-term senator has made multiple trips to the early presidential primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire and traveled across the country to campaign for conservative candidates in the midterm elections. Someone also created a super PAC, the Stand for Principles PAC, with the goal of helping Cruz win the nomination.
Democrats have wasted no time in attacking Cruz. After reports emerged on Sunday that Cruz would announce, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) said that the Texas senator was "absolutely unfit" to run for office because of his denial of climate change.
Cruz is known for his leadership in the effort to shut down the government in 2013, as Republicans attempted to defund the Affordable Care Act. The former champion college debater made a symbolic 21-hour speech against the law on the Senate floor.
The senator has worked to cultivate a hawkish profile on national security and foreign policy issues, both to appeal to top Republican donors and to provide a contrast with one of his primary rivals, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). He has also curried the favor of social conservatives by highlighting his opposition to marriage equality and abortion, and attempted to elevate his own candidacy by arguing that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the general election in 2016 if his party nominated a more moderate candidate in the vein of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
HuffPost Pollster has Cruz in the middle of the pack of those seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
Cruz previously served as Texas' solicitor general and with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. He also was a policy adviser for former President George W. Bush's campaign in 2000. When he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, he became Texas' first Cuban-American or Latino senator.