Still licking the wounds from their own party's bitter disapproval over John Boehner and Mitch McConnell's handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations, Republicans are desperately searching for someone to step up and lead their opposition to Pres. Obama's second term agenda.
Many are looking at Ted Cruz, Texas's newly sworn-in senator, as a top contender.
For conservatives, Cruz checks all the boxes, so to speak, for several reasons: he's smart, he's an effective communicator, and most importantly, he's a true blue conservative. (Given America's changing demographics, it's also worth noting Cruz is Cuban American, but more on that a little later.)
Click to watch Sen. Cruz explain his conservative worldview
No sooner than he took the oath of office was he advocating for Republicans to show some backbone and use their leverage in the upcoming debt ceiling debate to force a partial government shutdown.
He makes that argument based on what he calls the "lousy deal" to avoid the fiscal cliff Congress passed late New Year's Day.
"I would have voted 'no' if I had been in the Senate," he told CBN News. "It raised taxes, and it increased spending. It didn't cut spending. I think it's going to hurt the economy [and] hurt jobs."
Cruz is a disciple of what he calls "opportunity conservatism," a message steeped in pro-growth policies to help entrepreneurs and small business owners prosper.
"The Obama policies have consistently hurt those at the bottom of the economic ladder," he explained. "Under Barack Obama, Hispanic unemployment has climbed over 10 percent. Under Barack Obama, African American unemployment has climbed over 14 percent."
Click to hear Cruz's gospel of 'Opportunity Conservatism'
For Cruz, his voice on minority issues carries more weight than the average Republican politician.
The son of a Cuban immigrant father, he's seen as a rising star who could appeal to Latino voters, who are traditionally viewed as socially conservative.
It's just another reason why some Republicans are already mentioning his name for a possible White House run in 2016.