Sen. Ted Cruz becomes first Republican candidate in 2016 presidential race

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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is the first first major presidential contender to formally announce his candidacy in the 2016 race.

Cruz first announced his candidacy through his official Twitter account Monday morning, just after midnight.

"I'm running for president, and I hope to earn your support!" the tweet read.

Cruz officially declared himself in the race again in a speech to students at Liberty University later Monday morning.

In his speech, Cruz focused on evangelical as well as secular conservative priorities, such as blocking gun restrictions.

“Instead of a government that works to undermine our Second Amendment rights – that seeks to ban our ammunition – imagine a federal government that protects the right to keep and bear arms of all law-abiding Americans,” Cruz said.

Cruz, who was first elected to the Senate in 2012, is known for his 21-hour filibuster on the Senate floor, in which he championed efforts to block the implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

To read more about Cruz’s presidential bid, click here.