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Ted Cruz presidential race 2016: Whose worst nightmare?

Some conservative leaders reportedly are urging Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to run for president in 2016. That could be a nightmare for either Democrats, other Republicans, or even Cruz himself.

By Staff Writer / May 1, 2013

Senator Ted Cruz speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, last month. Cruz is thinking about running for president in 2016, according to a report in the National Review.

Deborah Cannon/Austin American-Statesman/AP

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Fiery Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is thinking about running for president in 2016, according to a report in the National Review. The freshman lawmaker may have been in office only four months, but he has risen quickly to national prominence, and some conservative leaders are privately pushing him to run, reports NR’s Robert Costa.

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Washington Editor

Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.

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“There’s not a lot of hesitation there,” says one Cruz donor quoted by Mr. Costa. “He’s fearless”.

Wow – a Cruz run would shake up the race, wouldn’t it? If nothing else a Cruz candidacy would provide the media with lots of spicy stories. This is a guy who’s irritated longtime Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California with what she took to be condescending remarks, charged that Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel may have taken money from foreign governments, and recently called some of his Republican colleagues “squishes” in remarks to a Texas tea party gathering.

The latter led conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin to label Senator Cruz as immature and unsophisticated about the governance of the nation.

“There is being principled, and then there is being a jerk,” Ms. Rubin wrote this week.

Of course, Cruz supporters might label Rubin, a committed supporter of Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, as an accommodator who’s hurting the party from within. Clearly a Cruz candidacy would be somebody’s worst political nightmare. The question is whose. We’ll look at three scenarios:

Democrats'

His supporters say Cruz would be the scourge of the Democrats, a Barry Goldwater truth-teller who’d actually draw votes. In their view, the GOP has been captured by establishment big-government types who aren’t interested in shrinking federal spending or reducing Washington’s influence.

Cruz and fellow tea party favorites Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky are a Republican solution, not a problem, writes conservative pundit Erick Erickson at RedState today. If it was not for them, in Mr. Erickson’s view, the recently defeated Senate gun control bill would have become law.

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