"Having spent the last month in Washington, it's good to be back in America," he told the crowd of Lone Star Tea Party supporters in Arlington Tuesday night.
"The purpose of tonight ... is to say thank you to each and every one of you," Cruz said, adding, "Nobody thought taking on the Washington establishment would be easy."
He urged supporters to stay involved in the democratic process.
"If we are going to stop Obamacare -- and I am convinced we are going to stop Obamacare -- it is going to be because we continue to elevate the national debate and focus on how this thing ain't working," he said in remarks quoted by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
He called the bipartisan agreement that reopened the federal government and temporarily ended the debt-ceiling crisis "a lousy deal ... selling the American people down the river."
Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, was among those at the rally and offered up a prayer.
"We thank you so much for the privilege of being Americans," he said, adding, "We are seeing freedoms eroded" and "none of us in this room are going to acquiesce."
"Give us the perseverance to restore liberty to America," the elder Cruz said.