Senator Ted Cruz, the right-wing Republican from Texas, is the new darling of the GOP, beating Donald Trump handsomely in Iowa polls and closing in quickly in other key states.

But Cruz was born in Canada so he cannot run for president, right?

Wrong. It appears his Irish American mother can make him eligible. But some claim his mother,Eleanor Darragh a Canadian citizen when Cruz was born, never showed her US birth certificate.

While Ted Cruz may be regarded as Hispanic because of his Cuban father, the fact is that he owes his eligibility for a White House run to his mother, Eleanor Darragh.

Cruz (43) has already been labelled ‘Black Irish’ by MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews who said Cruz has “a black Irish look” among other less complimentary comments.

Cruz would qualify under the “natural-born citizen” concept, even though he was born in Alberta, Canada, where his parents were working in the oil business. Both had taken Canadian citizenship at the time.

His father, now a passionate conservative preacher, fought the right wing Batista regime in Cuba before fleeing.

One of the first times the natural born citizen issue came up was with Chester Arthur, James Garfield’s VP, who assumed the presidency after Garfield’s assassination. Because Arthur’s father was born in Cullybackey, County Antrim in Ireland, he was  accused of being Irish-born by an opponent for the vice presidency. After much debate the matter was dropped.

Cruz's mother was born and raised in Delaware, in a family of Irish and Italian descent and Catholic faith, or was she? Opponents say there is no Delaware birth certificate. Sound familiar, “Obama is Kenyan" fans?

The elder Cruz graduated from the University of Texas and met his Irish American wife Eleanor Darragh there. Both were mathematicians and together started a seismic data business that served the oil industry.

Cruz described his mother as the first person in her Delaware working-class family to ever go to college, earning a math degree at Houston’s Rice University.

Read more: Who were the Black Irish, and what is their story?

So she was a Delaware native – or was she? Sheila Wolfe, a news blogger, has shown that Eleanor, like her husband, was a Canadian citizen when Ted was born in Alberta.

She claims no birth certificate for Eleanor as having been born in Delaware has ever been produced.

So are we likely to have an Obama type controversy here with allegations about him being born in Kenya?

Given that Donald Trump led the “birther” movement against Obama it is not difficult to see him throwing tantrums about whether or not Cruz can run for president at all.

As we have seen, The Donald can be a dominating adversary when he chooses to be – ask Jeb Bush.

Cruz had a troubled home life. His parents drank too much and his half sister died at 49 from an accidental drug overdose.

To his credit, Cruz has not tried to hide his parents' alcoholic phase. Like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, both children of alcoholics, it seems to have made him more determined.

He explained his upbringing thus: “Imagine a young married couple, living together in the 1970s, neither one of them has a personal relationship with Jesus. They have a little boy and they are both drinking far too much. They are living a fast life,” Ted Cruz told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper.

“When I was 3, my father decided to leave my mother and me. We were living in Calgary at the time, he got on a plane and he flew back to Texas, and he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore and he didn’t want to be a father to his 3-year-old son.”

Cruz’s father was invited to a Bible study class at Clay Road Baptist Church in Houston, where he “gave his life to Jesus Christ,” Ted Cruz said.

Ted Cruz said that his father bought a plane ticket and returned to the household.

“There are people who wonder if faith is real. I can tell you, in my family there’s not a second of doubt, because were it not for the transformative love of Jesus Christ, I would[n't] have been saved and I would have been raised by a single mom without my father in the household.”

Cruz has said, "I'm Cuban, Irish, and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern Baptist."

Whether he will end up president and what part his unique background will play in helping or preventing that has yet to be answered.