U.S. Republican presidential candidate Cruz speaks at the Freedom 2015 Conference in Des Moines, Iowa

Cruz waits in wings if Republican front-runners falter

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Cruz speaks at the Freedom 2015 Conference in Des Moines, IowaBy Erin McPike WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When Ted Cruz launched his 2016 presidential campaign last spring, the U.S. Senator from Texas cast himself as the leader of a conservative grassroots army who could shake up Washington and the Republican political establishment. Since then, Cruz, who played a leading role in the 2013 shutdown of the federal government, has seen two rivals, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, eclipse him as anti-establishment candidates in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. While still lagging the front-runners, Cruz has begun to rise in the polls.

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