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Cruz To Be Sworn In As First Hispanic U.S. Senator From Texas

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File photo of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

File photo of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — 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.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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