His 2016 bid was a failure. Cruz will try again if Trump is not elected in 2024.

Ted Cruz long wanted the presidency.

Cruz, the Republican senator of Texas, has never really embraced his ambition, even now that his party’s in a holding position waiting to see if former President Donald Trump will run again.


Cruz stated in an interview that “The race for ’24 will very much depend on what President Trump does.” “President Trump will make his decision, whether he runs or not. No one else is going make that decision for him. When he makes that decision, I expect everyone to react accordingly.”

He has been open in his interest in a run for the presidency. told The Truth Gazette in December that his second place finish in 2016’s primaries gave him confidence that he could win. He said that historically, the runner up is almost always the nominee. This refers to the handful of second-place finishers who went on the win the nomination.

Cruz is likely to begin from the back if he decides to run again, or if he does. Early polls of the 2024 GOP field showed Cruz trailing Trump, and Cruz ahead of others like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Last week’s Morning Consult/Politico survey found that Cruz received 2 percent support in a GOP primaries, while Trump was supported by 50% of Republican voters.

A person close to Cruz stated that he doesn’t believe he would run against Trump. “I don’t know if Trump will run. However, if Trump does not run, I am certain that he will.

He may be waiting for Trump to make a decision but he does not appear to be waiting to start the work behind-the scenes of building another presidential campaign.

Many of the 2016 campaign leaders, including David Polyansky and Jeff Roe, are still close advisors. An aide to the Republican Senate from another office noted that Cruz had already hired staff in his office for 2024, including Steve Guest, former director of the Republican National Committee rapid reaction, who is now one his senior advisers.

NBC News spoke to nearly a dozen Republicans about Cruz. These included Cruz allies and one time aides. They were divided on whether Cruz could win in another run, even in a post Trump scenario.

Many see Cruz as the one most prepared to take control post-Trump. Others argue that Cruz can’t undo the damage Trump did to him in the 2016 primary fight. Many are still disappointed by Cruz’s handling of Biden’s win, which led to election objections and later softened his comments about Capitol rioters being terrorists.

Some Republicans in Washington were left wondering if Cruz still has the pulse of voters after watching that Fox News episode.

Cruz called the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol a “terrorist assault” on the eve. This comment was something he made more than a dozen times before. He was met with a torrent of criticism from conservative media. Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ most-watched show, attacked him.

The next day, Cruz appeared at Carlson’s radio program. said he made “a mistake” in his phrasing and called it “sloppy and dumb,” adding that he was referring to only police officers who were assaulted as terrorists.

It was not enough to win over Trump’s most passionate backers.

John Fredericks, who was the chair of Trump’s 2016 and 2020 Virginia campaigns, said that “America First deplorables wouldn’t vote for Ted Cruz.” He is also a host on Right-wing Real America’s Voice. “Especially after he called the people who went to the rally terrorists and called them [terrorists] and all. The guy is done. Forget it.”


Cruz stood by his appearance.

Cruz stated, “Look, that was what I needed to do,” and added that Cruz’s original comments were “being taken out of context.”

An ex-aide to Cruz made it a point to say how much Cruz was enjoyable to work with and that the walk back was “a huge mistake calculation” that discouraged many.

This person stated, “Funny as it is, people still operate under fear.” “I suppose it’s less Trump and more about Trump’s voters.”

Former chief of staff to Cruz, Polyansky, claimed that Cruz had recovered from previous “punches in the gut”, such as his appearance on Carlson’s show. He also mentioned the backlash he received at the 2016 GOP convention for telling attendees “vote with your conscience” or when briefly left Texas to visit Cancun, Mexico with his family, while millions of his constituents were without electricity during a severe winter storm.

Polyansky stated that “in the heat of the moment with the media swirling and snarling, it’s easy for us to see these moments as career enders.” For other politicians, this could be crippling. He has a strong backbone and a trusted brand. Even if he doesn’t like you, you have to respect him. He always bounces back.”

“Mood ring of American Politics”

Cruz was in fact eying a presidential run since he arrived in Washington.

Cruz rose to prominence during the Obama administration’s second term by trying to block the president’s agenda. He led a shutdown of the government and angered members of both political parties. Trump defeated Cruz in the 2016 Republican primary race. This was a race that became deeply personal when Trump attacked his parents and wife.

He became one of Trump’s staunch defenders in Congress and went from not recommending Trump to the floor at the Republican convention. He worked with Senate Republicans to repair relations, which was often criticized by many for not being a team player.

Cruz stated, “Like any other person, you learn over the years.” “I have been through many more battles than I did 10 years ago. It’s possible that some of my critics may doubt it. However, I believe that some wisdom and maturity can be gained by going through the fire. So, the way I approach a fight today is a result of a decade’s experience that I didn’t have in 2013.

Cruz led a group that objected to Biden’s election on Jan. 6, 2021. He did this even after a proTrump mob attacked the Capitol. Trump then called for lawmakers from his party to do the same. Cruz replied, “Ofcourse not.” (Cruz was asked if he feels confident in the results a year later after there was no evidence of widespread fraud.

Terry Sullivan was the GOP Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. He said he believes Cruz can mount a strong campaign in the future, but that Trump would “eat him alive” if he attempted to rematch his primary.

He said that Tucker Carlson was an example of someone who doesn’t have a high profile in courage. Ted Cruz, he added, is the mood ring for American politics. He will turn any color the party’s current emotions are.  He has evolved. He is able to continue his evolution until he meets the needs of the electorate.”

Cruz can only do so much in a GOP where much of the infrastructure remains centered around Trump. Rick Tyler was Cruz’s communications director in 2016. He said that Cruz doesn’t know how to navigate Donald Trump’s political terrain, which is only detrimental to the Republican Party.

Tyler, who is vocally critical of Trump’s former presidency, said that Trump is the only person who can navigate and win in such a situation. “Because Trump doesn’t have a governing philosophy.”

Ron Nehring, a spokesperson for Cruz’s 2016 bid said that it would be “mistake” to count Cruz out when the GOP enters its next election cycle.

Nehring stated that it was a mistake and a common mistake to discount Sen. Cruz’s accomplishments and potential future achievements.