Cruz welcomes Paul to presidential race
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Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' Bob Dole: heroic, prickly and effective Democrats see Christmas goal slipping away MORE (Texas) on Tuesday welcomed his “good friend” and colleague Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul: Chris Cuomo firing 'a small step toward CNN regaining any credibility' GOP anger with Fauci rises Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default MORE (Ky.) to the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination.

"I am glad to welcome my friend Rand Paul into the 2016 GOP primary,” Cruz said in a statement. "Rand is a good friend, and we have worked side by side on many issues. I respect his talent, his passion, and the work he has done for Kentuckians and Americans in the U.S. Senate. His entry into the race will no doubt raise the bar of competition, help make us all stronger, and ultimately ensure that the GOP nominee is equipped to beat Hillary Clinton and to take back the White House for Republicans in 2016."

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Paul and Cruz are so far the only GOP candidates to officially announce their bids for the White House, although next week, one of their colleagues, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), is expected to enter the race.

In late March, Cruz became the first Republican to officially declare his presidential candidacy. The Texan launched his campaign from Liberty University, the largest Christian school in the nation, and he’s since hit the campaign trail with a message that is focused on galvanizing the evangelical community.

On Tuesday, Paul joined Cruz, officially announcing ahead of a rally with supporters in his home state of Kentucky that he intends to seek the White House.

Paul’s message is that he intends to run as a different kind of Republican — one is who focused on growing the party and taking the conservative message to communities that he believes the GOP has ignored.

When Cruz announced his candidacy on March 23, Paul wasn't as welcoming. He told Fox News that while the two have similar voting records and “come from the same wing of the party,” he believes his cross-party appeal makes him the more electable candidate.

“What makes us different is probably our approach to how we will make the party bigger,” Paul said at the time. “I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to go to places Republicans haven’t gone, not just throwing out red meat, but actually throwing out something intellectually enticing to people who haven’t been listening to our message before.”