Ted Cruz to announce his candidacy Monday

According to “senior advisers with direct knowledge of his plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity,” Ted Cruz will announce his candidacy for president Monday, speaking to a convocation at Liberty University in Virginia. Theodore Schleifer, writing for the Houston Chronicle, broke the news and provides a lot of detail on the campaign, which will be based in that city, where Cruz has made his home since the age of 4.

Cruz reportedly plans to raise between 40 and 50 million dollars for the primary phase of his campaign, a relatively small budget compared to the reported fundraising potential of Jeb Bush, favorite son of the establishment wing of the party. Schleifer, who has spoken to many Cruz campaign insiders, provides insight into how the Cruz forces plan to overcome the money factor:

…the key to victory, Cruz advisers believe, is to be the second choice of enough voters in the party's libertarian and social conservative wings to cobble together a coalition to defeat the chosen candidate of the Republican establishment.

Cruz has been planning this ever since he was sworn into office:

A week after Election Day, as senator-elect, Cruz established a political action committee to back conservative candidates nationwide. During his first summer in Congress, he was already visiting Iowa.

And over the past seven months, the Jobs, Growth and Freedom PAC has added a coterie of nationally experienced political operatives to the 2012 team of Texas strategists who engineered the surprise dethroning of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Republican primary. Joining the team Monday will be Cruz's wife, Heidi, a managing director at Goldman Sachs in Houston, who will take leave from the firm and accompany her husband on the campaign trail.

Those staffers have relocated to an Upper Kirby modern headquarters with empty offices reserved for soon-to-arrive senior staff and an empty deep pink and heart-red playroom reserved for their young children. About two dozen staffers now pace the sleek L-shaped, wraparound-windowed office that gives the finance team a prime view of U.S. 59. The senator's personal office is windowless.

Isn’t it odd how the name Goldman Sachs keeps popping up on both sides of the aisle, and so many factions? But back to Cruz’s strategy:

Cruz's senior advisers, however, see a path to victory that all but ignores [the establishment] wing. To them, the Republican primaries are a series of single-elimination brackets where the four GOP leaders who best represent the party's libertarian, establishment, social conservative and tea party wings will survive as the field winnows. Cruz will vie for the support of the tea party electorate, his advisers say, but will fare well enough with social conservative and libertarian voters to assemble a powerful coalition.

It is an interesting theory, but not one that is accepted by everyone:

Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank, said the Cruz campaign was dramatically underestimating the voting power of the liberals, moderates and establishment Republicans in a presidential primary. Olsen argued that about 70 percent of the party will choose the candidate who aligns with the left or the center.

"They seem to like experience, they seem to like rhetorical modulation, they seem to like conservatism - but not in excess," Olsen explained. "Ted Cruz has nothing to say to the moderates."

There is no question that Cruz is whip smart and can think on his feet. But he has such strong antipathy from the Congressional wing of the party, and such little experience as an executive, that he will have to overcome a lot to win the nomination.  On the other hand, he is an unconventional strategist, and capable of surprising his rivals, as witnessed by his unusual move to skip the exploratory committee phase of a campaign announcement and jump right in.

This is going to be a fascinating presidential season, with many surprises ahead. Cruz just got the jump on the field, and we can expect more surprises from him. Put Thomas Schleifer on your list of reporters to follow during the campaign for insight on Cruz.