2024 Watch: Cruz says he’s running for Senate re-election but doesn’t rule out presidential run

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – He’s repeatedly flirted with making another run for the White House, but Sen. Ted Cruz said on Saturday that he’s running for re-election to the Senate in 2024.

But Cruz, taking questions from reporters at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, did not rule out the possibility of a presidential campaign.

“I’m fighting in the Senate. I’m running for re-election in the Senate. I’m focused on the battles in the United States Senate,” the conservative firebrand senator from Texas said as he answered a question from Fox News on whether he would run for president or re-election in 2024.

But Cruz, in a follow-up question, did not rule out a presidential run. Asked if he should not be considered a potential White House contender anymore, Cruz answered “I’m focused on the fight. … There will be plenty of time to discuss 2024 presidential, they’ll be plenty of time for that.”

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, walks on stage before speaking at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas.
(AP Photo/John Locher)

Minutes earlier, speaking to the crowd at the RJC confab, Cruz touted his Senate re-election website and asked donors and activists in the audience to go to Ted.Cruz.org to contribute to Senate re-election campaign.

Cruz ran for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, coming in second the primary battle to former President Donald Trump.

The senator over the past two years consistently did not rule out making another White House run. And as he crisscrossed the country during the 2022 cycle on behalf of Republicans running in the midterm elections, he stopped a handful of times in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the first four states to vote in the GOP presidential nominating calendar. And Cruz told Fox News and other news organizations that “when I ran in ’16, it was the most fun I’ve had in my life.”

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Trump on Tuesday followed through on a year and a half of flirtations and launched a 2024 presidential campaign.

“There are some people who want him to do that. There are some who don’t. I think that process will shake out. We’ve seen at this conference here there some people clearly positioning to run against him. I don’t think he’ll run uncontested. I think there will be candidates that run against him,” Cruz said. “But we’re very early in this process. There’s plenty of time for the debates and discussions.”

Former President Donald Trump during an announcement at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, US, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. Trump entered the 2024 US presidential race, making official what he’s been teasing for months.
(Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Trump has been heavily criticized by some Republicans for hurting the GOP in the midterms, when the GOP failed to win a Senate majority, lost key governors races and secured a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives — disappointing GOP expectations for a “red wave” election.

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Some point to the former president for boosting far-right MAGA style candidates — who supported Trump’s unproven claims the 2020 election was stolen — who won GOP primaries but ended up losing in high profile competitive general election showdowns.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas takes questions from reporters at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting, on Nov. 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada
(Fox News)

There’s lots of people who want to point the finger at Donald Trump and point to the quality of candidates,” Cruz said.

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“Candidate quality matters. I will say, some of the nominees, particularly some of the gubernatorial nominees who raised next to no money, ran no TV commercials and didn’t really run a campaign, dammit, this is serious business,” Cruz stressed. “If you can’t raise money and run a campaign, step aside and let the adults do the work that needs to be done. So I’m frustrated when my party fields candidates that have no realistic chance of success.”