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Ted Cruz first to announce White House bid

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has become the first candidate to officially announce his run for the presidency in 2016. The Tea Party favorite has said he hopes to encourage a younger generation of conservatives to support him.

The first major official bid for the 2016 US presidential race came from hardline Republican Ted Cruz early on Monday.

"I'm running for president and I hope to earn your support!" he tweeted, firing the starting gun for what is expected to be a crowded contest for the Republican ticket.

The 44-year-old Tea Party favorite has been the Senator for Texas since 2012 and a constant critic of US President Barack Obama's administration. Cruz caused controversy within his own party in the past for helping push the US government into a shutdown over a budget fight and opposing the Republican leadership on a number of issues.

In a 30-second video posted on his Twitter account, Cruz said it was time to "make America great again" and called on a younger generation of conservatives to support his candidacy.

"It's a time for truth, a time to rise to the challenge, just as Americans have always done. I believe in America and her people, and I believe we can stand up and restore our promise," he says in the video.

Cruz is expected to appear at the Christian Liberty University in Virginia later Monday to give a speech fleshing out his leadership ambitions.

The Senator's advisors told the US media that he plans to raise between $40 and $50 million for his campaign, relying on support from his ultra-conservative and libertarian Tea Party base that helped get him elected in 2012.

While no other candidates have officially come forward yet, other Republicans, like former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, as well as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have made steps to show they too might join the race.

es/lw (AFP, dpa)

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