U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz will be the keynote speaker at the South Carolina Republican Party's Silver Elephant Celebration on May 3, according to a source close to the state party.
Cruz, a Republican from Texas, is widely considered to be a presidential candidate in 2016. His speech in South Carolina -- which holds the crucial first in the South presidential primaries -- will only intensify that speculation.
On the same day, Vice President Joe Biden will keynote the Jefferson Jackson Dinner for South Carolina Democrats, ensuring South Carolina's spot in the political spotlight.
Cruz, 42, was elected to the U.S. Senate in November, replacing former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. He is the former Texas solicitor general and was a domestic policy advisor to George W. Bush's presidential campaign in 2000.
If Cruz does decide to run for president, he could face the same type of birth controversy that engulfed President Barack Obama. Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. A Cruz spokesperson told Politico in January that Cruz is a "U.S.citizen by birth" because his mother was born in America.
In addition, the Silver Elephant Celebration -- to be held at the State Fairgrounds -- will feature a tribute to former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, who resigned in December to lead the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. South Carolina Republican party officials are expected to officially announce Cruz's speech later this week.
Also on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich -- who won the South Carolina Republican presidential primary in January -- announced he will speak in Myrtle Beach on May 1 as part of the South Carolina Energy & Opportunity Forum. The event will also feature U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, who represents South Carolina's 7th congressional district.
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