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Ted Cruz walks with daughter Caroline following the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

ATLANTA (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is launching the latest part of his "Southern firewall strategy."

That's what his campaign chairman calls the Texas senator's upcoming swing through multiple states that will hold their primaries March 1.

Cruz will visit eight states in seven days, beginning Thursday.

The senator's fly-around comes when many of his rivals are hunkering down in Iowa and New Hampshire. Those two states open voting in February. But Cruz believes he has the strength and the organization to look beyond those early states.

He's particularly interested in Southern states where his conservative message appeals to many Republicans who are frustrated with the nation's direction and with GOP leaders in Washington.

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