Carrie Dann-- NBC News
Sen. Ted Cruz announced his 2016 presidential bid Monday during a speech at Liberty University in Virginia, making him the first contender to formally announce a White House run.
"I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America," Cruz said. "That's why today, I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States."
In remarks with a heavy focus on his faith, Cruz won applause from thousands of the evangelical university's students for assailing the president's health care policy and immigration actions.
"It is the time for truth, it is the time for liberty, it is the time to reclaim the constitution of the United States," he said.
Cruz's wife Heidi and their two daughters were in the audience along with his father, Pastor Rafael Cruz.
"The power of the American people when we rise up and stand for liberty knows no boundaries," he told the crowd at the convocation ceremony.
Cruz tweeted late Sunday night to formally announce his run.