Cruz Gets Opening Night Slot at GOP Convention

Ted Cruz speaking at the state Republican convention on June 9, 2012.
Ted Cruz speaking at the state Republican convention on June 9, 2012.

U.S. Senate hopeful Ted Cruz has snagged a prominent speaking role on the first night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.

Cruz, who is quickly becoming a national media darling since winning the GOP Senate nomination last month, got a speaking slot toward the end of Monday evening's program. Ann Romney, wife of presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is the headliner that night.

"Ted is honored to participate in the convention, and to help highlight the stark choice presented in November — a choice between continuing Obama's failed economic agenda of government control and crushing debt or returning to our Nation's founding principles of free markets and individual liberty," said Cruz campaign manager John Drogin.

The roster for the first evening, which will carry the theme “We Can Do Better,” was announced by convention managers Monday. Announcements about the rest of the speakers are being trickled out this week.

The two Texas candidates who ran for president — Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul — have not been given speaking roles during the convention, but both plan to be there. Paul’s son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, will speak at some time before Cruz.

An exact time was not given, but Cruz is scheduled to appear after 7 p.m. CDT in the second half of the convention program Monday night. Cruz is wedged between Artur Davis of Alabama, a former Obama supporter who switched to the GOP, and a musical act.

Cruz will be followed by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; the first lady of Puerto Rico, Luce Vela Fortuno; and then Ann Romney.

Cruz, who has never held elective office, is the only major Texas political figure with an announced speaking role at the Tampa convention at this point. He stunned the Republican establishment by riding a wave of Tea Party enthusiasm to defeat Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who had once been heavily favored to win the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

Cruz faces Democrat Paul Sadler in November.

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