The Big Conversation

The next phase of the Ted Cruz-Donald Trump relationship — undisguised dislike — continued to develop over the weekend as the GOP presidential frontrunners campaigned in the key early voting state of South Carolina on Saturday.

Cruz started the day, the Tribune's Patrick Svitek reported, by leveling the charge that Trump is a fake conservative whose "record does not match what he says as a candidate." Cruz also revisited his charge that Trump has "New York values."

"Given the fact that for much of his life, Donald was financially supporting those politicians, writing checks to Hillary Clinton, writing checks to Andrew Cuomo, it’s a fair inference that he supports their policies," Cruz said, as reported by the Tribune

Trump made an attempt to return fire during his address to the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention. Over boos from the audience well populated with Cruz supporters, Trump raised the issue of Cruz's failure to properly disclose loans from Goldman Sachs and Citibank for his 2012 Senate campaign:

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"He's got bank loans from Goldman Sachs. He's got loans from Citibank. And then he acts like Robin Hood? Say whatever you want. It doesn't work that way."

The exchange, Svitek reported, had the feeling of a "new normal" in the race.

"As recently as last month, Trump's jab at Cruz, whom the political wild card had spared for months, would have been breaking news," Svitek wrote, "but on Saturday it was just another chapter in the collapse of their chummy public relationship.

Trib Must Reads

Money Pours into Texas Politicians' Campaign Accounts, by Ross Ramsey — Here's a look at some of the significant campaign finance disclosures, the first for this primary election season, that trickled into the Texas Ethics Commission's online system over the weekend.

Texas Education Chief Morath to Focus on Teachers, by Kiah Collier — Mike Morath, a 38-year-old North Texas businessman-turned school choice advocate, is Texas' new education commissioner. In a wide-ranging interview with The Texas Tribune, Morath said he wants to better support teachers, develop a fair school accountability system and focus limited state resources on struggling schools.

Cruz Ups Ante in New Hampshire With Bus Tour, by Abby Livingston — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz started a New Hampshire bus tour Sunday in search of a strong showing in the Granite State's Feb. 9 GOP presidential primary.

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Is Texas Building Too Many Medical Schools?, by Matthew Watkins and Edgar Walters — Texas universities are racing to build new medical schools, but without enough slots for post-graduate residents, some worry they're building a pipeline that will funnel new doctors out of state.

Eyeing a New Campus, UT System Buys Houston Land, by Matthew Watkins — Even though some lawmakers and state officials have urged it to slow down and reconsider, the University of Texas System on Friday completed the purchase of 100 acres of land for a new Houston campus.

Cruz Sparks Feeding Frenzy with "New York Values" Jab, by Patrick Svitek — In the 72 hours since GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz criticized his opponent Donald Trump for embodying "New York values," the term has sparked an all-out feeding frenzy — particularly in the Empire State. 

Investigation Targets Complaint Against Ken Paxton Over Land Deal, by Terri Langford — Two Fort Worth attorneys have been appointed to investigate a complaint against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton over a land sale in Collin County, an attorney for Paxton said Friday. 

Trump Campaign Names New Texas State Director, by Patrick Svitek — Donald Trump's presidential campaign has named a new head of its Texas operation after losing its first state director. 

The Day Ahead

•    State, federal and local offices are all closed today for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

•    Gov. Greg Abbott is in Israel today as he begins his five-day international trip to promote economic development.

Elsewhere

Clinton and Sanders brawl over doctors, guns and money, Politico

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Fikac: Rick Perry gets some lobbying adviceSan Antonio Express-News

Legislative candidates declare finances, El Paso Times

Cruz faces a real battle for Texas, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Candidates buy up nearly $6 million in TV ad buys as the March 1 primary elections near, San Antonio Express-News

Ted Cruz says Obama has a ‘pattern’ of ‘negotiating with terrorists’, Washington Post

Cruz first drew conservative attention at Supreme CourtSan Antonio Express-News

Transmission line pits land preservation against electric power grid, Austin American-Statesman

ICE raid in Irving shatters Salvadoran family’s reunion and hopes, Dallas Morning News

Even with years of experience, EMTs lose license to new law, Austin American-Statesman

Three involved in US-Iran prisoner exchange had Houston ties, Houston Chronicle

Quote to Note

"That has got to drive him nuts, and I imagine it sent him out of bed this morning tweeting and tweeting and tweeting."

— U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz suggesting to reporters in South Carolina that a series of critical tweets by rival Donald Trump were spurred by a new poll showing the Texas senator beating Trump in a head-to-head match up.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation with Steve McCraw, Texas DPS Director on Jan. 19 at the Austin Club

•    A Conversation with Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Jan. 21 at the Austin Club

•    Symposium on Urban Public Education on Jan. 22 at the University of Texas at El Paso

•    A Conversation on Health Care: Bending the Cost Curve on Jan. 28 at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth

•    The Texas Tribune's second Texas-centric Trivia Night on Jan. 31 at The Highball in Austin

•    A Conversation with Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer on Feb. 4 at the Austin Club

•    A Conversation with Sen. José Menéndez on Feb. 11 at the Austin Club

•    The Ticket: A Live Recording and Democratic Primary Debate Watch Party on Feb. 11 at KUT Public Media Studios in Austin

•    A Conversation with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Rep. Jose Manuel Lozano on Feb. 25 at Texas A&M University-Kingsville

•    A Conversation with Sen. Carlos Uresti and Rep. Poncho Nevárez on March 23 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine

•    Symposium on Transportation on March 29 at Texas A&M University in College Station