HOUSTON (AP) — Republican Ted Cruz is the newest troublemaker of the U.S. Senate, and his return to Texas this week was nothing short of a victory lap.

In just two months on the job, the brash 42-year-old Cruz is making good on promises to be absolute in his adherence to conservative principles. He’s run afoul of GOP mainstays for his prosecutorial-style questioning of Defense Secretary-nominee Chuck Hagel and voted against nearly everything of significance.

His approach was unusual for a freshman in Washington, and its effectiveness long-term far from certain. But the reaction at home in Texas is effusive.

Speaking in Houston this week, Cruz said the flurry of attacks at him are an attempt to draw attention away from Hagel.

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