LAS VEGAS — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is running for reelection to the Senate in 2024 but is not ruling out jumping into the race for the Republican presidential nomination at a later date.
Cruz spoke Saturday to an annual gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which is considered the unofficial start of the GOP campaign to nominate a 2024 standard-bearer, four days after former President Donald Trump launched his bid to reclaim the White House. Cruz, who was well received by Republican Jewish Coalition members, concluded with remarks about his difficult reelection in 2018, as well as a solicitation for contributions to his Senate campaign.
During a subsequent news conference, Cruz confirmed he is seeking a third term in the Senate. “I’m running for reelection in the Senate. I’m focused on the battles in the United States Senate,” Cruz told reporters. “We need to stand and fight against these policies that are inflicting so much harm on Americans across this country.”
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At the same time, the senator refused to close the door on a 2024 White House bid.
“You can consider whatever you like,” Cruz said, when asked if running for reelection means he should no longer be considered a potential 2024 contender. “There will be plenty of time to discuss 2024 presidential. I get that that is a lot of fun in the media to do. There will be plenty of time for that.”
Cruz sought the White House in 2016, finishing second to Trump in the race for the Republican nomination.
The senator has described the experience as among the most fun he has ever had in his life, other than losing, and Republicans have a history of picking the runner-up the next time the party holds an open primary. Those two factors would suggest a Cruz presidential campaign is in the offing. But Trump’s decision to run has complicated the senator’s plans.
For several months, Cruz has said he would make no decision until he knew what Trump was going to do, signaling he was not in a hurry to engage in another fight for the nomination with the former president. Trump made his White House plans official on Tuesday evening in a speech from Mar-a-Lago, his residence and private social club in Palm Beach, Florida.
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Several Republicans are eyeing a presidential bid.
President Joe Biden is telegraphing plans to run for reelection despite his age (he turns 80 on Sunday). But the Democrat has said he will not make a final decision until sometime next year. The Republican Party’s poor showing in the midterm elections and Trump’s weakened political position appear to be encouraging Biden to run.