Ted Cruz wasn't born in America (and 9 other facts you should know about the first 2016 candidate)

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Ted Cruz wasn't born in America (and 9 other facts you should know about the first 2016 candidate)

1) His legal name is Rafael Edward Cruz.

(Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

2) His wife Heidi has worked at investment banking firm Goldman Sachs. The company told CNN Monday she will go on unpaid leave for the duration of his campaign. They met while they worked on George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign.​

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

3) He won his Senate seat in 2010 without ever having been elected to public office before. Prior to that he had been appointed to the office of the Solicitor General in Texas.  ​

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

4) He had a minor brush with the law in 1987 when he received a ticket for underage possession of alcohol as a senior in high school. ​

(Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

5) He has two Ivy League degrees: an undergraduate degree from Princeton, and a law degree from Harvard.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

6) He has kept a painting of himself in his office -- a picture of him as a 32-year-old arguing a case before the Supreme Court.

(AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

7) He played a significant role in the government shutdown of 2013, leading a chorus of Republicans who refused to vote for any plan that kept the federal government running that did not also defund Obamacare. Cruz spend nearly 24 straight hours defending his position, including at one point reading the Dr. Seuss classic "Green Eggs and Ham."

(AP Photo/Senate TV)

8) His father (left) fled Cuba for the United States, worked in the oil industry and eventually became a pastor. He has made headlines for somewhat inflammatory statements, including telling an audience that President Obama should be sent "back to Kenya."

(Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)

9) He doesn't believe in climate change, an issue many Democrats have lampooned him for, in part because he leads the Senate's Space, Science, and Competitiveness Committee which oversees NASA.​ During a recent appearance on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" Cruz said "Debates on this should follow science and should follow data. Many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up."

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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By ISABELLE CHAPMAN

Texas Senator Ted Cruz became the first Republican to hop into the 2016 race when he announced his candidacy on Twitter Monday saying he hopes to "reignite the promise of America."

The Cuban-American Texas-bred Republican rode the Tea Party wave into Washington in 2010. He made national headlines in 2012 when he commandeered the Senate floor to speak "in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand." Indeed, Cruz spoke for 21 hours, at one point reading Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham" cover-to-cover to a mostly empty Senate chamber.

In his short time in office Cruz has earned a reputation as a political pitbull of sorts. He has not shied away from criticizing his colleagues, even notoriously calling his Republican peers "squishes" in 2013. His brash style has inspired less than flattering name-calling from both sides of the aisle. Harry Reid once described him as a "schoolyard bully," while John McCain called him a "wacko bird."

But one name that is certain to follow him around throughout his presidential campaign will cast a longer shadow: Canadian.

That's right. Cruz grew up in Texas -- but he was born in Calgary.

The Constitution states that in order to run for president one must be 35 years old, have lived in the United States for fourteen years, and be a "natural-born citizen." Scholars have debated whether this rule requires a president to have been born in the United States. Cruz argues that because his mother was born in Delaware, he was American at birth and therefore "natural-born." He even went so far as to renounce his Canadian citizenship in 2014, just to be safe. ​

While many experts agree that the circumstances of his birth do likely qualify him as a "natural-born citizen," it's at least somewhat murky legal territory.

Cruz is far from the the first presidential candidate to face questions about his "natural-born-ness." Senator McCain, who ran for president in 2008, was born in the Panama Canal Zone while his father was serving in the military. Mitt Romney's father George ran for office decades earlier under similar circumstances, having been born in Mexico to American parents.

If elected, Ted Cruz may not even turn out to be America's first Canadian-born president. Political historians believe that 21st President Chester Alan Arthur wasn't born in Vermont as he claimed -- but instead in Canada.

Click through above for the nine other things you might not know about the presidential hopeful.

Also on AOL:

Is Ted Cruz, Born in Canada, Eligible to Be President?
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