Texas: Cruz takes the plunge. US Sen. Ted Cruz (R) announced for president yesterday, with a message that reaffirmed his choice of Christian fundamentalist Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, for his kickoff, stressing his religious beliefs as well as socially conservative issues. His early announcement puts particular pressure on likely candidate Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister as well as a former governor of Arkansas, who also hopes to garner support from Christian conservatives ……. Tennessee: Corker says his Iran bill will survive veto. US Sen. Bob Corker (R), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says that he is confident that his bill requiring congressional review of a nuclear deal with Iran will pass. Moreover, “I believe ultimately we will have a veto-proof majority,” or at least 67 votes, he told the Republican National Lawyers Association’s National Policy Conference. He added, reports The Hill, that he plans to bring the bill to the Senate floor in early April …….. Virginia: Connolly opposes offshore drilling. Although his state’s two US Senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats, declined to sign a letter from lawmakers opposing the Interior Departments plan to allow offshore drilling on the East Coast, US Rep. Gerald Connolly (D) penned a Washington Post op-ed against the offshore petroleum development. The drilling “would threaten the massive Defense Department presence in the Hampton Roads region,” he said …….