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The Brief: Nov. 10, 2015

Ted Cruz had his breakthrough moment at the last GOP presidential debate. As the candidates convene again tonight for the next debate in Milwaukee, the question is what's next for the Texas senator.

Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz took part in the third debate among Republican presidential candidates in Boulder, Colorado, on O…

The Big Conversation

Ted Cruz had his breakthrough moment at the last GOP presidential debate. As the candidates convene again tonight for the next debate in Milwaukee, the question is what's next for the Texas senator.

"Since the last debate, Cruz has benefitted from a run of positive press presenting him as a possible last man standing in the GOP primary," the Tribune's Abby Livingston and Patrick Svitek write, "perhaps along with the other perceived winner of the CNBC event: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Last week, Cruz called it a 'plausible outcome' that the contest could come down to the two freshman senators. ... Cruz and Rubio emerged from the previous debate with something more valuable than a lead: momentum. Some Cruz insiders say the two men are on a collision course over immigration — likely on a debate stage, where the Texan has already said most of his GOP rivals at one point supported 'amnesty.'"

Livingston and Svitek note that Cruz might also benefit from the decision by the Fox Business Network to limit participation on the main stage to the top eight candidates. In addition, his main rivals for the evangelical vote will not be on the main stage.

Others are mindful of the danger of peaking too soon and posit that Cruz is still in the middle of his climb up from a midtier candidate. “Sure, expectations are probably higher, but I don’t think he’s gotten the attention he’s going to get — and he’s going to get it soon — when some of these guys fade ... but also he picks up steam," Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin-based Republican strategist, told the Tribune.

The two-hour debate begins at 8 p.m.

Trib Must Reads

I-35 in Austin Named the Most Congested Roadway in Texas, by Luqman Adeniyi and Miles Hutson – A new report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute named the stretch of I-35 between U.S. 290 N and SH 71 as the most congested roadway in Texas. We map the 10 most congested roadways.

Fifth Circuit Strikes Down Immigration Program, by Julián Aguilar – A three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has once again ruled against the Obama administration’s controversial immigration program.

EPA Head: Texas Should Want Its Own Clean Power Plan, by Jim Malewitz – The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggested that Texas leaders should play along with her agency’s sweeping Clean Power Plan, if only to avoid a more rigid carbon-cutting plan imposed by the federal government.

Bush Unveils Texas Leadership Committee, by Patrick Svitek –  Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Monday released a list of more than 100 prominent supporters in Texas.

Former A&M President Out as Chancellor at Missouri, by Matthew Watkins – Amid turmoil, former Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin will leave his job as chancellor of the University of Missouri at the end of this year. 

In Houston Mayor's Race, Cruz's Support Draws Attention, by Patrick Svitek – In the Houston mayoral runoff, the campaign of state Rep. Sylvester Turner is drawing attention to Ted Cruz's apparent support for opponent Bill King, calling both of them "too extreme for Houston."

Straus Forms Select Committee on Mental Health, by Johnathan Silver – The committee will review and make recommendations on substance abuse, care for veterans, identifying illnesses early and improving delivery of mental health care.

Hellerstedt to Lead Texas Public Health Agency, by Edgar Walters – John Hellerstedt will be the next commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, officials said Monday.

The Day Ahead

•     Join us for a conversation on transforming Texas hospitals at the Texas Medical Center in Houston at noon or watch online on our livestream.

•     The Partnership Advisory Commission, led by state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, will take up the Capitol Complex master plan and Public-Private Partnership guidelines. The hearing, being held at 10 a.m. at the Capitol in E1.012 , is invited testimony only.

     At 1:30, Eltife will chair a meeting of the legislative joint oversight committee on Government Facilities looking into state agency reporting requirement. The hearing is invited testimony only and will be held at the Capitol in E1.012. 

Elsewhere

The Gold Bug Bites Texas Politicians, The New York Times

Cuban Peers Dispute Ted Cruz’s Father’s Story of Fighting for Castro, The New York Times

Gov. Greg Abbott orders lottery staff to stop pursuing gambling expansion, The Dallas Morning-News

4 things to watch for in 4th Republican presidential debateHouston Chronicle

Residency restrictions on sex offenders come under fire, Houston Chronicle

Sources: Person being questioned about Judge Kocurek's shooting, Austin American-Statesman

Lopsided election puts political target on property taxes, Austin American-Statesman

Appeals court upholds injunction against Obama immigration plan, San Antonio Express-News

Katrina Pierson, former Cruz consultant, joins Donald Trump campaign, The Dallas Morning-News

Bastrop County to see another Jade Helm-like training next year, Austin American-Statesman

KXAN investigation prompts audit of APD citations, race data, KXAN-TV

Quote to Note

"Any president who doesn't begin every day on his knees isn't fit to be commander-in-chief of this country."

– U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa on Friday discussing Christianity and the presidency

Today in TribTalk

Campus carry is not a feminist issue, by Catherine Cousar – Women’s bodies and their ability to protect them is a feminist issue. Assault, rape and gender-based violence are all major feminist issues. Campus carry is not.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A discussion about Public Education: The Next Five Years on Nov. 13 at the University of Texas at El Paso

•    A daylong higher education symposium on Nov. 16 at Baylor University in Waco

•    A conversation about Houston & the Legislature: What's Next? on Dec. 15 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston

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