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Senator Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stands on stage with his wife Heidi and their daughters Catherine and Caroline, as he announces his candidacy for the president at Liberty College in Lynchburg, Virginia March 23, 2015. Cruz, a conservative firebrand who frequently clashes with leaders of his Republican Party, became the first major figure from either party to jump into the 2016 presidential election race on Monday. (REUTERS/Chris Keane)

Ted Cruz through the years

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has opened the first major campaign of the 2016 presidential season with a kickoff speech courting cultural conservatives.

One of several Republican hopefuls to rise from the tea party movement, Cruz spoke at Liberty University, the college founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. (AP)

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