It’s no secret that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has presidential ambitions — he was a serious contender for a little while in 2016 before Donald Trump lept into the public’s favor, and he’s been glad-handing in Iowa and New Hampshire even though the election is still more than two years out.
But he hasn’t made his plans for 2024 known, and told the Washington Examiner on Thursday that he won’t do so until he knows what Trump plans to do.
“There are a lot of candidates out there feeling their oats and boasting, ‘I’m running no matter what. I don’t care what Donald Trump says.’ Anyone who says that is lying. That’s an idiotic statement for someone to make who’s actually thinking about running,” Cruz said after he rallied for Karoline Leavitt, the Republican running for a House seat in New Hampshire.
“I don’t know what Trump’s going to decide — nobody does. Anybody who tells you they do is making things up,” Cruz said. “The whole world will change depending on what Donald Trump decides. That’s true for every candidate. That’s true of every potential candidate.”
Will Trump run?
While Cruz has defended Trump’s policies and avoided any criticism of the party’s most supported candidate, according to polls, he would have a lot to gain if Trump were knocked out of the race by legal troubles and if Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) sticks to his current line that he is running only for re-election to Governor.
DeSantis has come in second in most polls even though he has said he’s not running for president, and has an advantage over Cruz in that he also has an executive position, rather than a legislative one.
For Trump’s part, he has hinted repeatedly that he plans to run. It is too early to officially declare candidacy, and for reasons related to campaign finance, it isn’t advisable yet.
Some think Trump will announce his intentions after the midterm elections, which would not be much earlier than Democrats began to campaign before the last contest.
Continuing to wait
Cruz is up for re-election to the Senate in 2024 as well, and is positioned to do both with a $100 million campaign strategy. Federal law allows him to run for president and Senate at the same time.
He has been a popular and influential senator, making bold moves with the limited power Republicans have in that body right now.
If Republicans can retake the Senate majority, he will no doubt be in the public eye even more than he already is.
For now, he is campaigning for Republican congressional candidates around the country, building his network of allies and continuing to wait.