The Big Conversation

The Republican presidential primary debate set to happen days before Texans cast their ballots in the state's primary election will remain in Houston but with a new television channel as host.

CNN has been selected as the new host of the debate, multiple news sources reported late Monday afternoon. The day of the debate has been moved up from Feb. 26 to Feb. 25, Politico reported.

And as the Houston Chronicle reported, a new location in Houston is being found for the debate, seeming to imply that the University of Houston is being supplanted as the event host.

NBC was originally set to broadcast the debate but they were suspended in late October after the Republican National Committee expressed anger about how CNBC conducted its GOP presidential debate.

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The debate has long been signaled as a key event as it will give the Republican hopefuls one final chance to make their case before the key March 1 primaries and caucuses where voters in about a dozen, mostly southern states make their pick for who should be the party's nominee.

Disclosure: The University of Houston is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Trib Must Reads

Analysis: For Texas Officeholders, Money is the Best Defense, by Ross Ramsey — Money is the armory of politics; a large-enough war chest can intimidate potential rivals. And other officeholders have taken note, collecting towers of money like medieval rulers erected castles.

Latest Data Shows Poverty Rate Highest at Border, Lowest in Suburbs, by Alexa Ura — Border counties are home to the largest share of residents living in poverty, while a few suburban counties contain the smallest shares of poor people, according to the latest poverty estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Petition May Force Vote on Austin Rideshare Regulations, by Jacob Sanchez — With less than two weeks to go before Austin’s stricter vehicle-for-hire ordinance goes into effect, a group backed by Uber and Lyft says it has collected enough signatures to overturn or force a public vote on the new rules.

Wendy Davis Tries to Calm Hillary Clinton Backers, by Abby Livingston — Stumping in New Hampshire for Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, former Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis tried to assure voters that early losses in Iowa or New Hampshire won't doom Clinton's bid.

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GOP Megadonor Sheldon Adelson Flew Abbott to Israel, by Edgar Walters — Gov. Greg Abbott flew to Israel Sunday on a plane belonging to Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner and megadonor active in Republican national politics.

Greg Abbott Meets With Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, by Edgar Walters — Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem to discuss the Texas-Israel relationship and reiterate Abbott's opposition to Iran, according to the governor's office.

The Day Ahead

•    Gov. Greg Abbott is spending his second day in Israel visiting a desalination plant and attending a business roundtable luncheon. His visit to Israel is part of the governor's five-day international trip to promote economic development.

•    Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief Evan Smith will have a conversation with Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, at the Austin Club. The talk begins at 8 a.m. and will be live streamed for those unable to attend in person.  

Elsewhere

Dallas pastor, Republican speaker unlikely allies battling poverty, The Dallas Morning News

It May Be Time to Resolve the Meaning of ‘Natural Born’, The New York Times

Trump’s bad bet: How too much debt drove his biggest casino aground, Washington Post

Court records allege two former HPD officers operated online sports betting business, Houston Chronicle

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OPEC predicts cut in U.S. production, Houston Chronicle

Emmett to name replacement for Lee, Houston Chronicle

Mayor says El Paso ready for papal visit, El Paso Times

Big dollars raised in some Bexar County legislative races, San Antonio Express-News

Jeb Bush banking on Texas to gain traction, San Antonio Express-News

Adler: ‘Thumbs Up’ badge would resolve Austin ride-hailing standoff, Austin American-Statesman

Texas trailing Florida in Obamacare sign-ups, The Dallas Morning News

Quote to Note

 "I'm pretty sure Ronald Reagan didn't write checks and support Democratic politicians like [New York Gov.] Andrew Cuomo and [former congressman] Anthony Weiner and Hillary Clinton."

— Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on if Donald Trump's politics evolved over time to be more conservative, like President Ronald Reagan's.

Today in TribTalk

Abbott should call a special session to fix foster care, by F. Scott McCown — Convincing a higher court that our foster care system should be graded a D instead of an F will not help our children. Instead, we must reform our system.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    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