Ahead of the next Republican presidential debate, Hispanic conservative leaders are expressing concern about how some candidates, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, are discussing immigration.

A day before the GOP field meets at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the leaders are planning to huddle nearby, then brief the media on what they see as a party increasingly out of step with Latino voters. Among those expected to participate are senior officials from the LIBRE Initiative, Mario Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund; and Alfonso Aguilar, head of the American Principles Project's Latino Partnership.

Most alarming to the Hispanic conservatives are GOP frontrunner Donald Trump's inflammatory rants against illegal immigration. But they are also worried about Cruz, who most allied himself with Trump in the GOP field, praising the billionaire for drawing attention to illegal immigration and even backing his call to end birthright citizenship.

The Boulder summit would not be the first time Cruz's alliance with Trump has caught the attention of Latino leaders. During a visit to Houston last month, Javier Palomarez, the head of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said Cruz has damaged himself in the Latino community by refusing to criticize Trump. 

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The Washington Post first reported the leaders were planning to meet in Boulder.

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Gov. Greg Abbott is still keeping his options open as he weighs an endorsement in the Republican race for the White House. 

Abbott told reporters Wednesday he is "not ruling out, not ruling in" any White House hopefuls as he considers throwing his support behind one of them. Abbott has not said for sure whether he will make an endorsement before Texas' primary on March 1, an earlier-than-usual date that could give him more clout than some of his predecessors have had in picking a winner.  

Abbott's remarks came a day after he met for as long as an hour at the Governor's Mansion with Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon near the top of most polls nowadays — and the first candidate not from Texas to visit the mansion. On Wednesday, Abbott called Carson a "really likable man" who has a "genuine concern" for the direction of the country. 

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Along with deciding on a new speaker of the House, Congress is trying to hammer out a multiyear extension of federal highway funding before an Oct. 29 deadline. In the midst of those negotiations, Abbott sent a letter to the members of the Texas delegation Wednesday urging them to fight for the state's "fair share of federal transportation funding."

"As Congress resumes consideration of our surface transportation programs, I ask that you work with your colleagues to develop a fair, equitable and logical approach to federal transportation funding that does not shortchange Texans," Abbott wrote.

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Hillary Clinton announced the backing of almost 90 Texas Democrats Monday in her "Hillary for Texas Leadership Council," an effort to build up her support in Texas before the March 1 primary. 

The majority of Democrats in the state Legislature and in the Texas congressional delegation are on Hillary’s list. It also includes prominent mayors, city council members and other current and former elected officials.

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Houston Mayor Annise Parker went to bat Monday afternoon for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pending and massive trade deal between the United States and Pacific Rim countries. 

"Houston was founded on trade," Parker said on a White House conference call with reporters. She went on to argue that the deal would translate into economic opportunity for Texas industries, including natural gas exports to Japan and agriculture overseas. 

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"This agreement allows us a more even opportunity to put American goods into the field and compete successfully," she added. 

The trade deal is the key economic push of President Obama's second term. It is not, however, popular among labor unions and faced fierce opposition from that constituency this summer. 

Congress is expected to vote on the deal in an up-or-down vote sometime in February.

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The Texas Federation of Republican Women is planning a star-studded lineup for its 2015 convention next month in West Texas.

Among those scheduled to speak at the meeting, according to TFRW president Jodi Rushton: Abbott, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Cruz, former Gov. Rick Perry and Janet Huckabee, the wife of presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee. A number of statewide officials are also expected to attend, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Land Commissioner George P. Bush

The convention, a biennial gathering of the organization, is being held Nov. 5-7 in Lubbock.

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In response to the fire that destroyed thousands of acres and more than 40 homes and buildings in Bastrop County, state Rep. John Cyrier, R-Lockhart, refashioned his campaign kickoff for HD-17 into a benefit for Bastrop County fire recovery.  

Cyrier, who represents Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, Karnes and Lee counties, is hosting the event on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Bastrop location of Southside Market and BBQ. Money raised will go to the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team.

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A poll conducted by Survey USA on Houston’s seven candidates in the mayoral race revealed no single candidate appears to have the majority required to win the contest outright, although State Rep. Sylvester Turner topped the list with 20 percent of the vote. 

Following him was Houston businessman Bill King with 14 percent and former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia at 13. Former Congressman Chris Bell and Stephen Costello followed with 12 and 11 percent, respectively. Rounding out the poll were Ben Hall and Marty McVey in the single digits.

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