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Ted Cruz plans to run for re-election in 2018

By Manu Raju Senior Political Reporter

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Ted Cruz said Tuesday that he plans to run for re-election in Texas, putting to rest speculation that he may step aside to prepare for another run at the White House in 2020.

"Yes," Cruz told CNN when asked if he would run again. He didn't elaborate on his thinking.

Cruz's comments come as he returns to Capitol Hill this week for the first time since dropping his presidential bid.

He has yet to endorse Donald Trump, stoking speculation that he is angling for another run in four years.

Many strategists believe Cruz would be better served to skip a Senate re-election campaign in 2018 and instead focus on his presidential ambitions. While Cruz may ultimately decide not to run for re-election, his comments are clearly aimed at tamping down speculation that he will quit the Senate.

Later Wednesday, Cruz sat down for lunch with Senate Republicans, according to several senators who were at the meeting. Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who endorsed Cruz for president, made some introductory remarks, and Cruz himself addressed the group. The senators who were present said Cruz -- who often railed against what he said was the "Washington cartel" during his presidential campaign -- was warmly received and received a round of applause.

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