The presidential campaign: Ted Cruz

  • Sen. Ted Cruz making a stop with Gov. Mike Pence in Marion, Ind. on May 2, 2016.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz making a retail stop with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in Marion, Indiana.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz making a stop with Gov. Mike Pence in Marion, Ind. on May 2, 2016.
  • Senator Ted Cruz speaks to the media in Washington, DC, on March 22, 2016.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz holds a rally in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016. 
  • Sen. Ted Cruz holds a rally in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016. 
  • Sen. Ted Cruz holds a rally in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016. 
  • Sen. Ted Cruz holds a rally in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016. 
  • Sen. Ted Cruz holds a rally in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016. 
  • Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson speaks at a rally for Sen. Ted Cruz in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz holds a rally in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016. 
  • Sen. Ted Cruz holds a rally in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016. 
  • A supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz sports a pin at a rally in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016.
  • Supporters cheer for Senator Ted Cruz at a rally in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016. 
  • Sen. Ted Cruz at rally in Manchester, N.H. on Feb. 8, 2016 ahead of the primary that will be held in the state on Tuesday.
  • A debate workers holds up Ted Cruz’s name in the media spin room after the Republican Presidential debate in North Charleston, S.C. on Jan. 14, 2016.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz at rally in Manchester, N.H. on Feb. 8, 2016 ahead of the primary that will be held in the state on Tuesday.
  • Senator Ted Cruz at a rally in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 30, 2016.
  • A supporter of Senator Ted Cruz at a rally in Keene, N.H., Feb. 7, 2016.
  • Senator Ted Cruz at a rally in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 30, 2016.
  • Senator Ted Cruz at a rally in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 30, 2016.
  • Ted Cruz supporters at a pro-life rally in West Des Moines, Ia., Jan. 27, 2016.
  • Senator Ted Cruz at a rally in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 30, 2016.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 8, 2015.
  • Ted Cruz at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015.
  • Senator Ted Cruz at a rally in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 30, 2016.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is the first Hispanic-American to serve as a Texas senator. He announced his candidacy for president in March.
  • U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Freedom Summit, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Senator Ted Cruz at the Red State gathering in Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 8, 2015.
  • U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking during the Freedom Summit, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Senator Ted Cruz at the Red State gathering in Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 8, 2015.
  • Ted Cruz speaks at the Republican Leadership Summit in Nashua, N.H., April 18, 2015.
  • Ted Cruz appears on-screen in the filing room at the Republican Presidential debate in North Charleston, S.C. on Jan. 14, 2016.

of

Updated

Ted Cruz has arrived.

The Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate was first to announce his bid back in March, and has since been carefully laying the groundwork for a come-from-behind primary victory.

Money? Check. Backed by a coalition of four super-PACs and a campaign that’s raised more “hard money” than any other candidate, Cruz has a massive war chest funded by both eccentric billionaires, and small-dollar donors.

Ground game? Check. Cruz has chairmen spearheading outreach and organizing efforts in all of the 171 counties that make up the first four early states of the presidential nominating contest: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

Strategy? Double check. Not only has Cruz handled the “season” of Trump with expert control, refusing to criticize the brash real estate mogul no matter what he says in hopes of inheriting his supporters and avoiding his wrath; Cruz has also invested heavily in selling his brand of “true conservatism” to voters in several southern states that make up the so-called SEC primary – a regional voting blitz set to take place on March 1. Following the CNN debate in Las Vegas this week, Cruz will tour seven of those March 1 Super Tuesday states, holding 12 rallies in 12 cities in one week.

Sensing a threat, Cruz’s rivals are now starting to circle him. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has criticized Cruz for being weak on national security and unclear on immigration. Trump, meanwhile, declared over the weekend he has “far better judgment” than Cruz and called him “a bit of a maniac.” Still, with a slew of key endorsements and new polls that show him leading in Iowa and closing in on Trump nationally, Cruz has solidified his standing as a co-frontrunner in the Republican race and a veritable force to be reckoned with in 2016.

These photographs were shot on assignment by photographer Mark Peterson for MSNBC Photography as part of his on-going body of work “Political Theater” which examines the landscape of the American political system.

Speak Out