The swirling force of Texas politics

Ted Cruz to be Sworn in as U.S. Senator from Texas

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    Tea party favorite Ted Cruz will be sworn in Thursday as the first Hispanic to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate.

    A Cuban-American and former state solicitor general, Cruz is more fiercely conservative than the woman he is replacing, fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Dallas.

    A Houston attorney and former Ivy League debating champion, Cruz was virtually unknown when he announced his candidacy.

    But he used strong grassroots support to upset Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst during a July runoff election for the GOP senatorial nomination.

    Cruz then trounced Democrat and former state Rep. Paul Sadler in November's general election.

    He could be poised to become a rising star among Capitol Hill conservatives, especially given the retirement of tea party leader U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.