Heidi Cruz

Heidi Cruz
Heidi Cruz Feb 2016 retouched.jpg
Cruz in 2016
Heidi Suzanne Nelson

(1972-08-07) August 7, 1972 (age 48)[1]
EducationClaremont McKenna College (BA)
Université libre de Bruxelles (MA)
Harvard University (MBA)
Political partyRepublican
(m. 2001)

Heidi Suzanne Cruz (née Nelson; born August 7, 1972) is an American managing director[2][n 1] at Goldman Sachs, the position she has held since 2012. After completing her tertiary education at Claremont McKenna College, the Université libre de Bruxelles, and finally Harvard Business School, she served in the Bush White House. During her tenure in the administration she served various roles including economic director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council and as economic policy adviser to George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. In 2001, she married future U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, with whom she has two daughters. In his 2016 presidential campaign, she took a leave of absence to work as his primary fundraiser and surrogate.

Early and personal life

Heidi Suzanne Nelson was born on August 7, 1972, in San Luis Obispo, California, to Suzanne Jane (née Rouhe),[4] a dental hygienist, and Peter Christian Nelson, a dentist.[5] Nelson was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist.[6][7] Her maternal grandfather Olavi Johannes Rouhe was from Savonlinna, Finland.[8] During a part of Nelson's childhood, she lived with her family in Kenya, Nigeria, and throughout Asia, where they served as missionaries, while both parents participated in dental health work.[7][9][10][11] Nelson became interested in business as a child, and sold homemade bread with her brother, Scott.[12][13]

Nelson attended Valley View Adventist Academy in Arroyo Grande, near her home town of San Luis Obispo. She completed her secondary education in 1990, at Monterey Bay Academy, an Adventist boarding school about 150 miles north in La Selva Beach, California.[13] Following high school, Nelson attended Claremont McKenna College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Economics and International Relations in 1994.[14][15] While attending the school, she was active in the student Republican group.[16] While at Claremont McKenna, she studied abroad at the University of Strasbourg.[17] In 1995, she received a Masters of European Business degree from Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management of the Université libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium.[15] Her second graduate degree was an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2000.[7][14][18]

Subsequent to getting married in 2001, Cruz moved from Washington D.C. to Texas in 2004, and experienced a period of depression as a result of the transition.[19][20][21][22] Cruz and her husband have two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.[11][23] Since 2011, she characterizes herself as the primary breadwinner of the family.[24] Cruz converted to the Southern Baptist denomination, though she still maintains a vegetarian diet in adherence with her Adventist upbringing.[25]

During the winter storm of February 2021, she and her family decided to vacation in Cancún, Mexico; Cruz reportedly messaged friends and neighbors to propose a stay at the Ritz-Carlton, partly on the grounds that the $309 nightly rate was attractive.[26][27] Cruz's messages and her role in the vacation placed her at the center of an international scandal;[26][27][28] in addition to leaving the state during a period of crisis, the Cruzes came under fire for traveling internationally both during the COVID-19 pandemic and during the deadly storm, thereby violating official government guidelines, the guidelines of the school where their daughters are enrolled, and Ted Cruz's own public recommendations.[26][29]


In 2000, Nelson worked as an economic policy director on the Bush for President campaign, where she met her future husband Ted Cruz.[5] Following her marriage to Ted Cruz in 2001, she went on to work for the Bush administration; she began as a top deputy to U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Zoellick, focusing on economic policy.[6][7][30] Cruz worked as director of the Latin America desk at the Department of Treasury in 2002.[30][31] She taught herself how to speak Spanish between jobs.[32]

In 2003, Cruz reported directly to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Cruz eventually became the director for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council where she "had Rice's ear."[31] During a New York Times interview, Cruz recalled enjoying her tenure with the Bush administration and found her work to be "personally fulfilling."[33] That year, she delivered the commencement address for the graduating class of Tennessee's Southern Adventist University.[19] After commuting between Washington, D.C. and her husband's home state of Texas for a year, she moved to Texas in 2004, where she briefly worked for Merrill Lynch.[24] She has previously worked for JPMorgan Chase.[13] In 2005, she began working for Goldman Sachs as a private wealth manager.[34]

From 2005 to 2011, she was an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was a member of the Independent Task Force on North America that in 2005, published a report entitled "Building a North American Community."[30][35] Cruz sits on the Board of Directors for the Greater Houston Partnership.[36] After seven years at Goldman Sachs, Cruz was promoted in 2012, to regional head of the Southwest United States for the Investment Management Division in Houston.[7][18][37] In 2019, the Trump Administration interviewed Cruz as a finalist for the position of president of the World Bank.[38]

Role in 2016 presidential campaign

Heidi Cruz speaking at a Ted Cruz for President fundraiser in The Woodlands, Texas, February 2016

Cruz took a leave of absence without pay to participate in her husband's 2016 presidential campaign.[11] During the campaign, she made multiple solo public appearances, speaking on her husband's behalf.[39] Former George W. Bush administration official Sara Taylor Fagen said she was successful in softening her husband's image, which she further argued was essential for "a candidate whose main obstacle to the Republican nomination may be tone and personality", though director of the SuperPAC Our Principles PAC Katie Packer argued her help could only go so far and voters would not support a candidate based on their spouse.[40]

Early campaigning

Early in her husband's campaign, Cruz's initial role was that of fundraiser, making calls to potential donors, seeking to "max out" investments to the Cruz campaign. Cruz's call list included donor names provided to her by a super PAC.[7][41][42] Campaign chairman Chad Sweet compared Cruz's ability to make campaign calls to her time at Goldman Sachs, stating, "There are very few spouses who can get on the phone on a cold call to a prospective donor and make a more compelling case in a personal and effective way than Heidi Cruz."[43]

Beginning in August 2015, Cruz regularly attended presidential debates in which her husband participated.[44] When asked what her role would be as First Lady, she expressed an intent to raise "the standard of living for those at the bottom of the economic ladder in this country", explaining that her interests are on "the economic side".[45] During a two-day trip to Alabama in November 2015, she delivered signatures and payment required for her husband to appear on that state's ballot at the Alabama Republican Party headquarters in Hoover.[46]

On December 3, Cruz returned to Texas to file paperwork for her husband's name to appear on the state ballot. She acknowledged she had previously filed for his name on ballots in previous states, but also said the Cruz campaign had "a campaign strategy that's built to last, and we have built a grass-roots army that this country hasn't seen since Ronald Reagan."[47][48] Having made televised solo appearances on Fox Business Network,[49] and KTRK-TV,[50] it was noted by Patrick Svitek of The Texas Tribune that she had become more visible in the previous months than she had been before.[51]


Cruz stumped for her husband in Iowa ahead of the 2016 Republican caucuses, appearing in the state multiple times.[52] Ted Cruz ultimately won the state,[53][54][55][56] which she believed was due to "one strong voice of the people coming together".[57] For New Hampshire, another early primary state, it was reported in January that she would make stops there to rally support for her husband.[58] In February, Cruz was reported to be headlining a luncheon for Republican women in Reno, Nevada, days before the state's primary.[59]

Cruz's campaigning in Texas was viewed by commentators (including potential voters)[60][61][62] as essential to her husband's winning of his home state on Super Tuesday.[63] At the time of her campaigning in Texas, Ted Cruz was expected to win the state, the move being seen as the Cruz campaign not wanting to take any chances.[64] According to Cruz, both she and her husband were confident about his prospects of winning.[65] She emphasized the state as both her and her husband's home state.[66][67] After Super Tuesday, Cruz herself subsequently campaigned independently in North Carolina,[68][69] Illinois,[70] and Missouri.[71][72] She then substituted for her husband in Fayetteville, North Carolina,[73][74] speaking at Fayetteville Technical Community College in promotion of him,[75] and jointly appeared with her husband in Wisconsin.[76] Weeks before the state primaries, Cruz appeared in Indiana.[77][78] Ted Cruz dropped out of the primary after a loss in Indiana to Donald Trump on May 3, 2016.[79]


  1. ^ At Goldman Sachs, a class of employees are promoted to "managing directors" biennially. It is not equivalent to a CEO.[3]


  2. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross. "Goldman Sachs Names 266 Managing Directors". New York Times Dealbook. Archived from the original on November 20, 2012.
  3. ^ Morell, Alex; Campbell, Dakin (November 4, 2019). "Goldman Sachs announced its new class of managing directors, and millennials dominated the list". Business Insider. Insider, Inc. The promotions, which are announced once every two years and among the most coveted on Wall Street, put recipients one step below partner at the prestigious investment-banking firm.
  4. ^ "The Birth of Heidi S. Nelson". California Birth Index. Heidi S Nelson was born on August 7, 1972 in San Luis Obispo County, California. Her father's last name is Nelson, and her mother's maiden name is Rouhe.
  5. ^ a b Pemberton, Patrick S. (April 18, 2015). "Heidi Cruz, a San Luis Obispo native, campaigns now as wife of a presidential candidate". The Fresno Bee. The McClatchy Company.
  6. ^ a b Diaz, Kevin (December 5, 2015). "Ted Cruz's secret weapon: Heidi Cruz". San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio, Texas: Hearst. Retrieved March 10, 2016. Heidi Cruz parlayed her campaign experience into a prestigious job as an assistant to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, right-hand man to Bush family consigliere James Baker.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Zezima, Katie (September 14, 2015). "Heidi Cruz Tries to Close Her Biggest Deal: Making Ted Cruz President, by Katie Zezima, The Washington Post". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved October 30, 2015 – via The Washington Post.
  8. ^ Kuittinen, Teppo (March 15, 2016). "Savolaistaustainen Heidi Cruz: "Ted tuli kotiovelle ison kukkapuskan kanssa" – USA:n vaaleissa yhä Suomi-kytkös". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved April 23, 2021. Heidi Cruzin äidinisä oli alkujaan savonlinnalainen Olavi Johannes Rouhe.
  9. ^ "Los Angeles Blue Book". 1979.
  10. ^ "Peter C. Nelson, DDS | School of Dentistry | Loma Linda University". dentistry.llu.edu. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Moore, Martha T. (March 23, 2015). "Who is Heidi Cruz?". USA Today.
  12. ^ Diaz, Kevin (December 5, 2015). "Heidi Cruz is on a mission to make Ted more well-liked". Houston Chronicle. Hearst.
  13. ^ a b c Pemberton, Patrick S. (November 16, 2013). "Heidi Nelson Cruz's San Luis Obispo roots shaped her career, marriage to Tea Party darling". The Tribune (San Luis Obispo). The McClatchy Company. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  14. ^ a b Parker, Ashley (October 23, 2013). "A Wife Committed to Cruz's Ideals, but a Study in Contrasts to Him". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  15. ^ a b "The Definitive, Categorical, Alphabetical Guide to our Next First Lady...Or Man". Vanity Fair. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  16. ^ Zezima, Katie (January 8, 2015). "Meet Heidi Cruz: Hard-charging career woman, but first a loyal spouse". The Washington Post.
  17. ^ Heidi Nelson Cruz '94, Claremont McKenna College (2010).
  18. ^ a b "Board of Directors & Staff | Greater Houston Partnership". www.houston.org. Greater Houston Partnership. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Heidi Nelson Cruz: A Political Spouse Making Sacrifices and Courting Donors". The New York Times. January 18, 2016.
  20. ^ Coppins, McKay; Apper, Megan (March 18, 2015). "The Trials And Triumphs Of Heidi Cruz". Buzzfeed News. BuzzFeed.
  21. ^ Cruz, Ted (2015). Ted Cruz: A Time for Truth. Broadside. pp. 178–180. ISBN 978-0062365613.
  22. ^ Hopper, Jessica (July 1, 2015). "7 Things You Never Knew About Ted Cruz That We Learned From Reading His Book". ABC News.
  23. ^ Cruz, Ted; Cruz, Heidi (April 13, 2016). "Ted Cruz Town Hall". Ted Cruz Town Hall (Interview). Interviewed by Anderson Cooper. New York City: CNN. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  24. ^ a b Plott, Elaina (October 18, 2018). "Heidi Cruz didn't plan for this". The Atlantic.
  25. ^ Mascaro, Lisa (January 31, 2016). "Heidi Cruz is her husband's not-so-secret weapon, but could she hurt his campaign?". Los Angeles Times.
  26. ^ a b c Goldmacher, Shane; Fandos, Nicholas (February 18, 2021). "Ted Cruz's Cancún Trip: Family Texts Detail His Political Blunder". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  27. ^ a b Barrabi, Thomas (February 18, 2021). "Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi, invited neighbors to join Cancun trip in leaked texts: Report". Fox News. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  28. ^ Washington, Maanvi Singh Joan E. Greve in; Bekiempis, Victoria; Gambino, Lauren (February 19, 2021). "Texas storm: Ted Cruz defends trip to Mexico as power outages continue – as it happened". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  29. ^ Barrabi, Thomas (February 18, 2021). "Cruz admits Cancun trip 'obviously a mistake' as he returns to find protesters outside his Texas home". Fox News. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  30. ^ a b c Manley, John P.; Aspe, Pedro; Weld, William F. (May 2005). "Task Force Report: Building a North American Community" (PDF) (53). Washington, DC: Council on Foreign Relations: 175. Retrieved March 30, 2016. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  31. ^ a b Levin, Matt; Fechter, Josh (March 25, 2016). "Why Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump might make better presidents than their husbands". Houston Chronicle. Houston. Retrieved March 31, 2016. She reported directly to Condoleezza Rice while in the Bush administration. Heidi Cruz worked on the Latin America desk at the Department of Treasury in 2002. She was later appointed director of Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council, where she had Rice's ear.
  32. ^ Flores, Reena. "Five things to know about Heidi Cruz". CBS.
  33. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt; Eder, Steve (January 18, 2016). "Heidi Nelson Cruz Discusses Her Husband, Her Career and Campaign Fund-Raising". The New York Times.
  34. ^ Gross, Daniel (January 14, 2016). "For Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, Their Wives Are Their 'Secret Weapon'". Fortune.
  35. ^ Schultheis, Emily (October 27, 2011). "A pit of vipers; also, his wife". Politico. Arlington County, Virginia. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  36. ^ "Heidi Cruz". Greater Houston Partnership.
  37. ^ Moore, Michael J. "Cruz's Wife Heidi to Take Unpaid Leave From Goldman". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  38. ^ Klein, Betsy (January 31, 2019). "Trump interviews Heidi Cruz, once the subject of his ridicule, for World Bank post". CNN.
  39. ^ Sain, Aurora (October 21, 2015). "Republicans seek military caucus vote". The Record Courier.
  40. ^ "Heidi Cruz tries to rebuild bridges her husband burned on his way to the White House". Reuters. December 15, 2015.
  41. ^ "Heidi Cruz is asking super PAC donors to donate to her husband's campaign. Here's why they say that's OK". The Washington Post. October 15, 2015.
  42. ^ Fineman, Howard (November 6, 2015). "What The Rise Of Two Young Cuban-Americans Says About The GOP's Future". The Huffington Post.
  43. ^ Schleifer, Theodore (August 21, 2015). "Meet Ted Cruz's top fundraiser: his wife". CNN.
  44. ^ "Wednesday's GOP debate transcript, annotated". The Washington Post. September 16, 2015.
  45. ^ Burton, Cassie (August 12, 2015). "Heidi Cruz: Husband is attracting 'crossover votes'". MRT.com.
  46. ^ Toner, Casey (November 5, 2015). "Ted Cruz's wife Heidi Cruz rallies Mobile supporters". Advance Local Media LLC.
  47. ^ Cervantes, Bobby (December 3, 2015). "Ted Cruz is now on the Texas ballot". Houston Chronicle.
  48. ^ "Heidi Cruz Files To Put Her Husband's Name On Texas Ballot". CBS. December 3, 2015.
  49. ^ Limitone, Julia (December 10, 2015). "Heidi Cruz: We Need a 10th Amendment Guy Like My Husband". Fox Business. Fox News Network. Archived from the original on December 11, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  50. ^ Abrahams, Tom (December 7, 2015). "WHO IS HEIDI CRUZ? PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL WIFE'S SPEAKS TO ABC13". ABC Inc.
  51. ^ Svitek, Patrick (December 3, 2015). "Heidi Cruz Files to Get Husband on Texas Ballot". The Texas Tribune.
  52. ^ Gillman, Todd J. (October 13, 2015). "In Keokuk with wife Heidi, Ted Cruz checks off extreme southeast Iowa". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016.
  53. ^ Gillman, Todd (December 13, 2015). "With surge in Iowa, Ted Cruz's plan to win is clicking". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  54. ^ Lips, Evan (January 8, 2016). "Heidi Cruz brings husband's message to Bay State supporters". NewBostonPost.
  55. ^ "Cruz's wife rallies supporters to aid the cause". Sentinel Enterprise News. January 9, 2016.
  56. ^ Patane, Matthew (January 9, 2016). "Heidi Cruz joins husband on last day of Iowa bus tour". The Des Moines Register.
  57. ^ Lavender, Chris (February 10, 2016). "Heidi Cruz campaigns for husband in Spartanburg". The State.
  58. ^ Alemany, Jacqueline (January 3, 2016). "Ted Cruz expands horizons beyond Iowa". CBS News.
  59. ^ "Heidi Cruz to headline Washoe Republican women luncheon". Reno Gazette-Journal. February 13, 2016.
  60. ^ Svitek, Patrick (February 28, 2016). "It's Heidi Cruz — Not Ted — Leading Final Push in Texas".
  61. ^ Besson, Eric (February 26, 2016). "Heidi Cruz stumps for husband in Beaumont". beaumontenterprise.com.
  62. ^ "Heidi Cruz makes a campaign stop in Beaumont". 12newsnow.com. February 26, 2016. Archived from the original on February 27, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  63. ^ "Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi, to campaign in Beaumont". beaumontenterprise.com. February 19, 2016.
  64. ^ Bauer, Jennifer (February 26, 2016). "Heidi Cruz campaigns for husband Ted Cruz in Houston". Graham Media Group.
  65. ^ Washington, Francesca (February 27, 2016). "Heidi Cruz, wife of Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to E. Texas supporters". KLTV. ABC Inc.
  66. ^ Manisero, Stef (February 29, 2016). "Heidi Cruz Stumps in Georgetown". Austin.
  67. ^ McCullough, Jolie (March 2, 2016). "Cruz, Clinton Grab Most Votes in Almost Every Texas County". Texas Tribune. Austin, Texas. Retrieved March 2, 2016. With 100% of precincts reporting, Cruz, came away with 1,239,158 votes, or 43.8% of the total. Donald Trump followed behind with 757,489 votes, or 26.7% of the vote. Cruz, one of the state's two U.S. senators, got the most votes in all but six of the state's 254 counties.
  68. ^ "Heidi Cruz Campaigns in Cary Before North Carolina Primary". twcnews.com. March 5, 2016.
  69. ^ "Heidi Cruz, McCrory among speakers at conservatives' meeting". The Washington Times. March 4, 2016 – via Associated Press.
  70. ^ Bischel, Casey (March 6, 2016). "Heidi Cruz, wife of Ted Cruz, to visit Belleville on Tuesday". The McClatchy Company.
  71. ^ Kendrick, Deborah (March 11, 2016). "Heidi Cruz visits Columbia before Missouri primary". ABC17. The Networks of Mid-Missouri Columbia.
  72. ^ "Heidi Cruz visits Columbia to promote husband's effort to overtake Trump". March 12, 2016.
  73. ^ "Ted Cruz cancels Fayetteville Tech visit". Capital Broadcasting Company, Inc. March 11, 2016.
  74. ^ "Ted Cruz cancels Fayetteville appearance; wife to speak instead". Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. March 14, 2016.
  75. ^ Barnes, Greg (March 14, 2016). "HEIDI CRUZ BRINGS HUSBAND'S MESSAGE TO FAYETTEVILLE". abc11.com.
  76. ^ "Heidi Cruz cancels South Jersey visit". Philly.com. March 28, 2016.
  77. ^ Campell, Holly. "Heidi Cruz stops in the Summit City for campaign office grand opening". Nexstar Broadcasting Inc.
  78. ^ Bloyd, Kyle (April 22, 2016). "Heidi Cruz campaigns in Indianapolis". Circle City Broadcasting.
  79. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt (May 3, 2016). "Ted Cruz Ends His Campaign for President". New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2016.

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