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Ted Cruz Is Planning to Take the White House — and He's About to Pull a Move That Leapfrogs the Competition

Tea party conservatives Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, right, walk to a meeting as the Senate prepares to vote on a measure to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. Credit: AP

He's going to skip the exploratory committee and go straight for the jugular.

Ted Cruz plans to run for president.

The Houston Chronicle broke the news just before midnight Saturday evening, citing senior advisers speaking on the condition of anonymity who said that Cruz, the Texas Tea Party Republican elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, would pursue the presidency.

The announcement would make Cruz the first Republican to officially declare his candidacy.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, arrives at the Capitol as the Senate votes to approve a $1.1 trillion spending package, the Omnibus Appropriations Act, a bipartisan compromise that all but banishes the likelihood of an election-year government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. The legislation is a follow-up to the budget compromise the two parties pushed through Congress in December that set overall spending limits for the next two years. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, arrives at the Capitol in Washington for a vote on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Cruz will announced his candidacy at a convocation ceremony at Liberty University in Virginia, the Chronicle reported.

The senior advisers cited by the Chronicle said Cruz aims to raise some $40 to $50 million, and he will run as an unabashedly conservative candidate, in contrast to the "mushy middle" Republicans he's criticized in the past.

Cruz has strong support among the conservative base, as several high-profile polls have shown.

In a Drudge Report poll released at the beginning of February, Cruz took the No. 2 spot among likely presidential contenders, behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. In the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll at the end of February, Cruz came in third behind Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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