The day is upon us.

This week, Ted Cruz will become the first presidential candidate to officially throw his hat in the ring. Senior advisors with direct knowledge of Cruz’s plans said that the junior senator from Texas will make his big announcement at a convocation ceremony at Liberty University this Monday.

Theodore Schleifer at the Houston Chronicle broke the story last night:

Over the course of the primary campaign, Cruz will aim to raise between $40 million and $50 million, according to advisers, and dominate with the same tea party voters who supported his underdog Senate campaign in 2012. But the key to victory, Cruz advisers believe, is to be the second choice of enough voters in the party’s libertarian and social conservative wings to cobble together a coalition to defeat the chosen candidate of the Republican establishment.

The firebrand Texan may have few Senate colleagues who will back his White House bid, but his appeal to his party’s base who vote disproportionately in Republican primaries could make him competitive in Iowa and beyond.

Yet critics of Cruz argue that he will have trouble raising high-dollar donations from traditional contributors, will land few endorsements from the nation’s political establishment and be unable to escape comparisons to President Barack Obama, who also ran for president in his first Senate term. And if he advances to a general election, Cruz trails likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton solidly in early public opinion polls.

If the Chron’s sources are right, Cruz will skip the exploratory committee phase and declare his candidacy outright.

Of course, anyone who has been watching Cruz’s career saw this coming—or at least, saw the possibility of this coming:

For Cruz, 44, Monday’s planned announcement will culminate two years of open musing about running for president that began nearly the moment voters elected him to the Senate in 2012. A week after Election Day, as senator-elect, Cruz established a political action committee to back conservative candidates nationwide. During his first summer in Congress, he was already visiting Iowa.

And over the past seven months, the Jobs, Growth and Freedom PAC has added a coterie of nationally experienced political operatives to the 2012 team of Texas strategists who engineered the surprise dethroning of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Republican primary. Joining the team Monday will be Cruz’s wife, Heidi, a managing director at Goldman Sachs in Houston, who will take leave from the firm and accompany her husband on the campaign trail.

This announcement comes on the heels of weeks of some conservative outlets’ efforts to paint probable presidential contender and current frontrunner Scott Walker as a weak “flip-flopper.”

How did Walker respond to the news of Cruz’s announcement? Graciously. (Start at the 6 minute mark.)

The internet is…excited? Snarky? Mad? Possibly a little scared? There are a lot of feelings out there:

Is America ready for another junior senator to steal the spotlight? Only time will tell.

Welcome to Slugfest 2016, everyone.


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