Updated: Jan 3, 2013 10:42 AM
AUSTIN (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 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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