— -- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will announce his presidential campaign Monday, becoming the first major presidential candidate to officially enter the 2016 race.
Aides to the Republican senator tell ABC News he will make the announcement during the convocation speech at Liberty University, a Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia, on Monday morning. News of the announcement was first reported by the Houston Chronicle.
Cruz, 44, is the first major candidate to enter what is expected to be a crowded Republican primary field that will likely include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. By announcing his candidacy, the Texas senator will skip the exploratory process many presidential candidates undergo.
Cruz's announcement will officially kick off the 2016 presidential race. Several candidates, including Paul and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are expected to announce their presidential campaigns in April.
The Texas senator has made frequent trips to the early primary states over the last two years as he's mulled his presidential bid. He's traveled to Iowa nine times, New Hampshire five times, and South Carolina five times since 2012.
WHO IS TED CRUZ?
Cruz rose to political stardom in 2012 as a Tea Party candidate who secured the Republican nomination in the Texas Senate primary against then Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the establishment-backed candidate. In November of that year, Cruz won the Senate seat and is currently serving in his third year in the Senate.
He has been an outspoken critic of President Obama’s immigration and healthcare plans. In 2013, he led a 21-hour filibuster on the Senate floor in protest against Obamacare just days before a government shutdown.
Cruz, a Cuban-American, was born in Calgary, Canada to an American mother and a father who fled Cuba in the 1950's. Cruz held dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship until 2014 when he formally renounced his Canadian citizenship.
Cruz received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. From 2003 to 2008, he served as solicitor general in Texas.
Despite being a first-time presidential candidate, Cruz has some experience in national campaigns. In 2000, he served as a domestic policy adviser on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign.
Cruz has also worked at the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department, in addition to clerking for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist.