Open main menu

Heidi Suzanne Cruz (née Nelson; born August 7, 1972) is an American managing director[1][n 1] at Goldman Sachs. She served in the Bush White House as the economic director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council, as the director of the Latin America Office at the U.S. Treasury Department, as Special Assistant to U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick, and as economic policy advisor to George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign.

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

(1972-08-07) August 7, 1972 (age 47)
EducationClaremont McKenna College (BA)
Université libre de Bruxelles (MA)
Harvard University (MBA)
Political partyRepublican
Ted Cruz (m. 2001)

In 2001, she married U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

Early lifeEdit

Heidi Suzanne Nelson was born on August 7, 1972, in San Luis Obispo, California, to Suzanne Jane (née Rouhe), a dental hygienist, and Peter Christian Nelson, a dentist.[2] Nelson was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist.[3][4] Her father is of Danish and Irish descent, and her maternal grandfather was born in Finland. 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.[4][5][6][7] Nelson became interested in business as a child, and sold homemade bread with her brother, Scott.[8][9]

Nelson attended Valley View Adventist Academy in Arroyo Grande, California, 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.[9]

Following high school, Nelson attended Claremont McKenna College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Economics and International Relations in 1994.[10][11] While attending the school, she was active in the student Republican group.[12] While at Claremont McKenna, she studied abroad at the University of Strasbourg.[13] 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.[11] Her second graduate degree was an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2000.[4][10][10][14]


In 2000, Nelson worked as an economic policy director on the Bush for President campaign, where she met her future husband Ted Cruz.[2] Following her marriage to 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.[3][4][15] Cruz worked as director of the Latin America desk at the Department of Treasury in 2002.[15][16] She taught herself how to speak Spanish between jobs.[17]

In 2003, Cruz reported directly to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.[16] Cruz eventually became the director for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council where she "had Rice's ear."[16] During a New York Times interview, Cruz recalled enjoying her tenure with the Bush administration and found her work to be "personally fulfilling."[18]

After commuting between Washington, D.C. and her husband's home state of Texas for a year,[19] she moved to Texas in 2004.[3][20]

Cruz has worked for three investment banks, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs.[21]

In 2005, she went to work for Goldman Sachs as a private wealth manager.[22] After serving at Goldman Sachs for seven years, Cruz was promoted in 2013 to regional head of the Southwest United States for the Investment Management Division in Houston.[4][14][23]

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."[15][24] Cruz sits on the Board of Directors for the Greater Houston Partnership.[25]

In 2019, Cruz was interviewed as a finalist for the position of president of the World Bank.[26]

Role in 2016 presidential campaignEdit

Heidi Cruz and husband, Senator Ted Cruz, at a 2015 political rally, Houston, Texas

Cruz took a leave of absence without pay to participate in her husband's 2016 presidential campaign.[20]

During the campaign, she made multiple solo public appearances, speaking on her husband's behalf.[27] 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.[28]

Early campaigningEdit

Early in her husband's campaign, Cruz's initial role was that of fundraiser, making calls to potential donors, and, in her words, seeking to "max out" investments to the Cruz campaign. Cruz's call list included donor names provided to her by a super PAC.[4][29][30] 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."[31]

Beginning in August 2015, Cruz regularly attended presidential debates in which her husband participated.[32] 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".[33] 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.[34] Cruz's comment that her husband had "maintained his voting record at the same time in the Senate" was interpreted as being a dig at Marco Rubio's record on voting during his own presidential campaign.[35] Two months later in January, Cruz would reaffirm her husband's position and state the campaign was "of issues" and not "personalities", furthering, "We have great respect for all the candidates who have taken this great journey to try and make our country a better place."[36] That month she also expressed her liking for Donald Trump's television series The Apprentice, an admiration noted while Trump was leading in Iowa polls along with her husband.[37]

On December 3, Cruz returned to Texas and filed 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."[38][39] It was noted at this time by Patrick Svitek of The Texas Tribune that she had become more visible in the past few months after spending the initial months of the campaign playing a behind-the-scenes role,[40] Cruz shortly afterward making televised, solo appearances on Fox Business Network[41] and KTRK-TV.[42] In January 2016, after her husband's eligibility to run for the presidency was questioned by several other Republicans,[43] Cruz defended his legality, calling the questioning an indication of her husband winning and his contenders and detractors feeling a need to try to defame him as a result. Cruz called her husband's legality indisputable and noted Republican presidential candidates John McCain and George Romney were born in the Panama Canal Zone and Mexico.[44] Cruz would further say that her husband had been cleared of any issue regarding his legality in the past, which contributed to her view that his eligibility would not hurt the campaign and that questions over if her husband was a natural born citizen were an "example of distractions."[45]


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

Cruz stumped for her husband in Iowa ahead of that state's 2016 Republican caucuses, appearing in the state multiple times.[46] Ted Cruz ultimately won the state,[47][48][49][50] which she believed was due to "one strong voice of the people coming together".[51] For New Hampshire, another early primary state, it was reported in January that she would make stops there to rally support for her husband.[52] In February, Cruz was reported to be headlining a luncheon for Republican women in Reno, Nevada, days before the state's primary.[53] For the South Carolina primary, she appeared on the campus of Lander University,[54] dined with Governor Nikki Haley in an attempt to get her endorsement for the campaign, though she ultimately supported Marco Rubio,[55] and appeared in Spartanburg.[56]

Cruz's campaigning in Texas was viewed by commentators[57][58][59] as essential to her husband's winning of his home state on Super Tuesday,[60] her appearing in the state for the last few days prior to the contest.[61][62] 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.[63] According to Cruz, both she and her husband were confident about his prospects of winning.[64] She emphasized the state as both her and her husband's home state.[65][66] After Super Tuesday, Cruz's subsequently campaigned independently in North Carolina,[67][68] Illinois,[69] and MIssouri.[70][71] She then substituted for her husband in Fayetteville, North Carolina,[72][73] speaking at Fayetteville Technical Community College in promotion of him[74] and canceling a visit to New Jersey in late March in order to instead appear jointly with her husband in Wisconsin.[75] Weeks before the state primaries, Cruz appeared in Indiana[76][77] and was reported to be appearing in Nebraska to gain early support for the campaign in both Fremont and Norfolk.[78] In the last week of the campaign, after Carly Fiorina became the vice presidential candidate, Cruz made joint appearances with her as they had done in past states such as Wisconsin.[79] Ted Cruz dropped out of the primary after a loss in Indiana to Donald Trump on May 3.[80] A week later, on May 10, Cruz urged supporters to be optimistic about the future.[81]

Personal lifeEdit

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 to Texas.[19][82][83][84] Cruz and her husband have two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.[85]

Cruz converted to the Southern Baptist denomination, though she still maintains a vegetarian diet in adherence with her Adventist upbringing.[86] She is a supporter of Houston-based Living Water International, a faith-based non-profit organization that helps communities in developing countries create sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs in response to the global water crisis.[11][87][88]

Since 2011, she has been the primary breadwinner of the family.[89]

In 2012, the Cruzes liquidated their net worth to finance Ted Cruz's senatorial campaign. In an interview, Cruz stated that due to her experience with Goldman Sachs, she saw financing the campaign with their financial assets as an investment.[90][90] In January 2016, it was reported that her husband's campaign was also financed by a previously undeclared loan Cruz received from Goldman Sachs. She further stated that they had stalled their lives and finances for the 2012 senate campaign, concluding that, in her opinion, Texans were thankful.[91]


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


  1. ^ "Goldman Sachs Names 266 Managing Directors". New York Times.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ a b c Diaz, Kevin (December 5, 2015). "Ted Cruz's secret weapon: Heidi Cruz". San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio, Texas. 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.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Zezima, Katie; Post, The Washington. "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.
  5. ^ "Los Angeles Blue Book".
  6. ^ "Peter C. Nelson, DDS | School of Dentistry | Loma Linda University". Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  7. ^ Moore, Martha T. (March 23, 2015). "Who is Heidi Cruz?". USA Today.
  8. ^ Diaz, Kevin (December 5, 2015). "Heidi Cruz is on a mission to make Ted more well-liked". Houston Chronicle.
  9. ^ a b 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). Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c 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.
  11. ^ a b c "The Definitive, Categorical, Alphabetical Guide to our Next First Lady...Or Man". Vanity Fair. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  12. ^ Zezima, Katie (January 8, 2015). "Meet Heidi Cruz: Hard-charging career woman, but first a loyal spouse".
  13. ^ Heidi Nelson Cruz '94, Claremont McKenna College (2010).
  14. ^ a b "Board of Directors & Staff | Greater Houston Partnership". Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  15. ^ 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)
  16. ^ a b c 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.
  17. ^ Flores, Reena. "Five things to know about Heidi Cruz". CBS.
  18. ^ "Heidi Nelson Cruz Discusses Her Husband, Her Career and Campaign Fund-Raising". The New York Times. January 18, 2016.
  19. ^ a b "Heidi Nelson Cruz: A Political Spouse Making Sacrifices and Courting Donors". The New York Times. January 18, 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Who is Heidi Cruz?". USA TODAY. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  21. ^ Harlan, Chico (January 29, 2016). "Ambition enough for two". Washington Post. Retrieved March 29, 2016. But she wanted a job in banking, having previously worked at J.P. Morgan.
  22. ^ Gross, Daniel (January 14, 2016). "For Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, Their Wives Are Their 'Secret Weapon'". Fortune.
  23. ^ Moore, Michael J. "Cruz's Wife Heidi to Take Unpaid Leave From Goldman". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  24. ^ Schultheis, Emily (October 27, 2011). "A pit of vipers; also, his wife". Politico. Arlington County, Virginia. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  25. ^ "Heidi Cruz". Greater Houston Partnership.
  26. ^ Klein, Betsy (January 31, 2019). "Trump interviews Heidi Cruz, once the subject of his ridicule, for World Bank post". CNN.
  27. ^ Sain, Aurora (October 21, 2015). "Republicans seek military caucus vote". The Record Courier.
  28. ^ "Heidi Cruz tries to rebuild bridges her husband burned on his way to the White House". Reuters. December 15, 2015.
  29. ^ "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.
  30. ^ Fineman, Howard (November 6, 2015). "What The Rise Of Two Young Cuban-Americans Says About The GOP's Future". The Huffington Post.
  31. ^ Schleifer, Theodore (August 21, 2015). "Meet Ted Cruz's top fundraiser: his wife". CNN.
  32. ^ "Wednesday's GOP debate transcript, annotated". The Washington Post. September 16, 2015.
  33. ^ Burton, Cassie (August 12, 2015). "Heidi Cruz: Husband is attracting 'crossover votes'".
  34. ^ Toner, Casey (November 5, 2015). "Ted Cruz's wife Heidi Cruz rallies Mobile supporters".
  35. ^ Quinn, Stephen (November 4, 2015). "Heidi Cruz visits Hoover, files papers for husband to enter Alabama Republican primary". ABC3340.
  36. ^ Hensch, Mark (January 7, 2016). "Heidi Cruz defends husband's citizenship". The Hill.
  37. ^ "Heidi Cruz praises Donald Trump -- for 'The Apprentice'". USA Today. January 19, 2016.
  38. ^ Cervantes, Bobby (December 3, 2015). "Ted Cruz is now on the Texas ballot". Houston Chronicle.
  39. ^ "Heidi Cruz Files To Put Her Husband's Name On Texas Ballot". CBS. December 3, 2015.
  40. ^ Svitek, Patrick (December 3, 2015). "Heidi Cruz Files to Get Husband on Texas Ballot". The Texas Tribune.
  41. ^ Limitone, Julia (December 10, 2015). "Heidi Cruz: We Need a 10th Amendment Guy Like My Husband". Fox Business.
  42. ^ Abrahams, Tom (December 7, 2015). "WHO IS HEIDI CRUZ? PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL WIFE'S SPEAKS TO ABC13".
  43. ^ "Birtherism is back". CNN. January 7, 2016.
  44. ^ "Heidi Cruz: Ted is indisputably a U.S. citizen". Boston Herald. January 8, 2016.
  45. ^ Glass, Nick (January 27, 2016). "Heidi Cruz pushed back against Trump". Politico.
  46. ^ Gillman, Todd J. (October 13, 2015). "In Keokuk with wife Heidi, Ted Cruz checks off extreme southeast Iowa". The Dallas Morning News.
  47. ^ "With surge in Iowa, Ted Cruz's plan to win is clicking". The Dallas Morning News. December 13, 2015.
  48. ^ Lips, Evan (January 8, 2016). "Heidi Cruz brings husband's message to Bay State supporters". NewBostonPost.
  49. ^ "Cruz's wife rallies supporters to aid the cause". Sentinel Enterprise News. January 9, 2016.
  50. ^ Patane, Matthew (January 9, 2016). "Heidi Cruz joins husband on last day of Iowa bus tour". The Des Moines Register.
  51. ^ "Heidi Cruz campaigns for husband in Spartanburg". The State. February 10, 2016.
  52. ^ Alemany, Jacqueline (January 3, 2016). "Ted Cruz expands horizons beyond Iowa". CBS News.
  53. ^ "Heidi Cruz to headline Washoe Republican women luncheon". Reno Gazette-Journal. February 13, 2016.
  54. ^ "Heidi Cruz to make stop at Lander University". February 13, 2016.
  55. ^ "How Marco Rubio Won Nikki Haley's Endorsement, and Clinched Second in South Carolina". National Review. February 20, 2016.
  56. ^ "Heidi Cruz urges supporters in Spartanburg to turn out for SC primary". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. February 10, 2016.
  57. ^ Svitek, Patrick (February 28, 2016). "It's Heidi Cruz — Not Ted — Leading Final Push in Texas".
  58. ^ Besson, Eric (February 26, 2016). "Heidi Cruz stumps for husband in Beaumont".
  59. ^ "Heidi Cruz makes a campaign stop in Beaumont". February 26, 2016.
  60. ^ "Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi, to campaign in Beaumont". February 19, 2016.
  61. ^ "Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi, to campaign Friday in Beaumont". The Beaumont Enterprise. February 23, 2016.
  62. ^ Durben, Taylor (February 28, 2016). "Heidi Cruz campaigns for husband Sen. Ted Cruz in Waco". KXXV.
  63. ^ Bauer, Jennifer (February 26, 2016). "Heidi Cruz campaigns for husband Ted Cruz in Houston".
  64. ^ Washington, Francesca (February 27, 2016). "Heidi Cruz, wife of Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to E. Texas supporters". KLTV.
  65. ^ "Heidi Cruz Stumps in Georgetown". February 29, 2016.
  66. ^ 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.
  67. ^ "Heidi Cruz Campaigns in Cary Before North Carolina Primary". March 5, 2016.
  68. ^ "Heidi Cruz, McCrory among speakers at conservatives' meeting". March 4, 2016.
  69. ^ Bischel, Casey (March 6, 2016). "Heidi Cruz, wife of Ted Cruz, to visit Belleville on Tuesday".
  70. ^ Kendrick, Deborah (March 11, 2016). "Heidi Cruz visits Columbia before Missouri primary".
  71. ^ "Heidi Cruz visits Columbia to promote husband's effort to overtake Trump". March 12, 2016.
  72. ^ "Ted Cruz cancels Fayetteville Tech visit". March 11, 2016.
  73. ^ "Ted Cruz cancels Fayetteville appearance; wife to speak instead". March 14, 2016.
  75. ^ "Heidi Cruz cancels South Jersey visit". March 28, 2016.
  76. ^ Campell, Holly. "Heidi Cruz stops in the Summit City for campaign office grand opening".
  77. ^ Bloyd, Kyle (April 22, 2016). "Heidi Cruz campaigns in Indianapolis".
  78. ^ "Heidi Cruz coming to Lincoln". April 25, 2016.
  79. ^ "Carly Fiorina, Heidi Cruz to hold Anderson rally". April 29, 2016.
  80. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt (May 3, 2016). "Ted Cruz Ends His Campaign for President". New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  81. ^ "Heidi Cruz Compares Husband's Campaign to Fight Against Slavery". May 11, 2016.
  82. ^ "The Trials And Triumphs Of Heidi Cruz". BuzzFeed News. March 18, 2015.
  83. ^ Cruz, Ted (2015). Ted Cruz: A Time for Truth. Broadside. pp. 178–180. ISBN 978-0062365613.
  84. ^ Hopper, Jessica (July 1, 2015). "7 Things You Never Knew About Ted Cruz That We Learned From Reading His Book". ABC News.
  85. ^ 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.
  86. ^ "Heidi Cruz is her husband's not-so-secret weapon, but could she hurt his campaign?". Los Angeles Times.
  87. ^ Moore, Mike, 2003, A World Without Walls: Freedom, Development, Free Trade and Global Governance, Cambridge University Press, p. 81, ISBN 0-521-82701-9.
  88. ^ Horswell, Cindy, 2007-02-18, Clean water was driller's passion, Houston Chronicle.
  89. ^ "Heidi Cruz didn't plan for this". The Atlantic. October 18, 2018.
  90. ^ a b Mundy, Liz (July 31, 2014). "The New Power Wives of Capitol Hill". Politico.
  91. ^ "Heidi Cruz Offers Explanation For Loans To Husband's Senate Campaign". BuzzFeed News. January 21, 2016.

External linksEdit