Ted Cruz is known more for his arguing skills as an attorney than for his business acumen, but he's banking possible votes like a real pro. He's got as much as a 10-point lead against real estate magnate Donald Trump, according to some polls.
And as the Texas senator has ascended in the polls among likely Iowa caucus voters, who, on February 1, will become the first to cast their primary votes, it's understandable people want to get to know Cruz, the presidential candidate.
While he is hardly a Washington outsider--like Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who are leading more broadly in national polls--he does have a number of things that Iowa voters find potentially appealing, such as his experience in the Senate, where he's involved with national security.
But that doesn't mean he'd be a shoo-in with business owners and entrepreneurs. Among other unfriendly business policies, he's known to favor eliminating federal financing support for exporters, and he opposes comprehensive immigration reform.
On Tuesday night, during the latest round of GOP presidential debates in Las Vegas, which will air on CNN at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, potential voters will gain more insight on where each of the candidates stand on key issues such as the economy and national security. In the meantime, here are five things you should know about Cruz:
1. Tax cuts and a balanced budget
Cruz favors a 10 percent flat tax for individual filers, and he'd slash corporate taxes to a rate of 16 percent, down from the current top rate of 35 percent. He'd eliminate the payroll tax, and he favors a constitutional amendment that would require a balanced budget.
2. Abolish the IRS
Cruz favors shutting down the Internal Revenue Service. On his Senate webpage, he says: "It is a challenge that we all face to limit the power of Washington...we need to padlock and shut down the (IRS) building, abolish the IRS, and move to a flat tax or the FAIR Tax." A FAIR tax, as opposed to a flat tax, taxes consumer retail consumption.
3. Reform immigration
Cruz, like Trump, favors measures that secure U.S. borders. He favors so-called legal immigration reform, as opposed to an amnesty solution favored by the current administration, which would provide a path to citizenship for as many as 11 million undocumented immigrants. Cruz says he favors building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, and would triple the number of agents on the border, as well as increase aerial surveillance. He'd expand the E-verify program, requiring employers to run checks on potential hires. He'd also pursue legislation that would prevent small companies from deducting the salaries of undocumented workers at tax time.
4. Ax the ACA
Ted Cruz has been a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act. And even before the Senate voted to gut key provisions of the ACA in early December, he introduced a bill to overturn the 2010 health care law in 2013. As an alternative, he favors a system that relies on health savings accounts. He'd also allow people to purchase health care across state borders.
5. Extinguish the Export-Import Bank
Cruz, along with Texas Representative Jeb Hensarling, was part a congressional push to end the 81-year-old Export-Import Bank, which supports thousands of businesses in their exporting endeavors, and which has returned an estimated $7 billion to Treasury in recent years. For Cruz and other conservative lawmakers, the Ex-Im Bank represents corporate favoritism and cronyism. Congress let the bank's charter lapse in June. It has since been re-authorized for four years, following a five-month lapse. Expect the bank's charter to resurface as an issue in the next president's term.