AddThis ShareEXPERT ALERTDavid Ruth612email@example.comRice U. political expert available to comment on Cruz’s presidential announcementHOUSTON – (March 22, 2015) – According to news reports, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas will formally announce Monday his candidacy for president.Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, professor and chair of political science and fellow in political science at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is available to comment on Cruz entering the race and the challenges Cruz will face gaining the Republican nomination.“Cruz has certainly been indicating that he was going to launch a presidential bid, so this was expected,” Jones said. “The principal challenge that Cruz faces is moving up from the second-tier pack, where he presently is, and into the first tier. At present, it’s not clear he has a viable route to move from one of several movement conservatives to a front-runner candidate … in the league of a Jeb Bush, Scott Walker or perhaps Marco Rubio.“Realistically we’re looking at about a dozen viable Republican presidential contenders within the realm of possibility, and Cruz is certainly one of them,” Jones said. “The difficulty that I think he’s going to encounter is how he moves out of his movement conservative or Tea Party base to capture the support of the larger share of the electorate, which one actually needs to win the Republican nomination.”Jones said that regardless if Cruz wins the nomination, a run for president now would strengthen his political standing.“Ted Cruz is only halfway through his first Senate term, and he has a long political career ahead of him,” Jones said. “Even if he isn’t successful in this presidential bid, he can utilize it to enhance his national stature and spread his message.”-30-Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.This news release can be found at news-network.rice.edu/news.