YNCHBURG, Va.–

Sen. Ted Cruz declared himself as the first major candidate to enter the 2016 presidential race. As one of the many Republicans eager to win back Washington, Cruz made it official by tweeting on March 22, “I’m running for President and I hope to earn your support!”

“It’s going to be a new generation of courageous conservatives to help make America great again, and I’m ready to stand with you to lead the fight,” Cruz said in a campaign video.

Cruz is a first-year senator from Texas and one of several Tea Party favorites.

Cruz rose in 2012 as a Tea Party candidate winning the Texas Senate primary. He is currently serving his third year in Senate.

An outspoken critic of President Obama’s immigration and health care reform, in 2013 he led a 21-hour filibuster in protest of Obamacare.

The current race is preparing to include former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as well as senators from Florida and Kentucky.

“From here it’s only up. We have a lot of great candidates that are about to come in and join the field,” said Taylor Budowich, executive director of the Tea Party Express. “Tea Partiers and conservatives of every stripe are pretty excited about what’s to come in the presidential race.”

While Cruz believes he appeals to all in the GOP, he intends to compete for the votes of religious conservatives.

About a year ago, Cruz delivered a speech with concern that religious liberty is being attacked by the Obama administration.

Cruz is described as “probably the ideal candidate for a lot of conservative types who are activists and the Republicans that caucus,” said Craig Robinson, former political director of the Iowa GOP.

“He’s the natural fit — a strong social conservative who has the fighter mentality. He’s going to be right on all their issues,” Robinson said.

Early public opinion polls have Cruz behind Walker or Bush in the 2016 race. Cruz announced first though and will dominate media until the rest announce their commitment.

Budowich, said Cruz and the other candidates need to appeal to a broad range of voters if they want to win. Cruz’s call of “opportunity conservatism,” in which policies help not just the wealthy but everyone, will help Cruz.

“You have to articulate your vision for America,” Budowich said. “We can’t just talk to ourselves. We can’t win a national election if we don’t expand the voter base.”

Katrina Aman is an aspiring journalist who desires to be a person of positive influence. Particularly passionate about poverty alleviation and civil rights, she hopes her writing takes her where she can improve lives.