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COVER: Businessman and television celebrity Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 2016 Republican presidential primary debate on Dec. 15 in Los Vegas.

by MATTHEW WATKINS

HOUSTON — The University of Houston will get to host a GOP presidential primary debate after all.

The university and CNN announced Wednesday that the final debate before Super Tuesday will be held Feb. 25 at the Moores Opera House on the UH campus. UH had previously been selected as the host by NBC News, but its status was thrown into question when the Republican Party cut ties with NBC in planning the event.

University officials had been unsure for weeks whether they’d lose the high-profile affair.

“The University of Houston is honored to serve as the host site of this important national conversation,” said University of Houston Vice President Richie C. Hunter. “The chance to participate in history isn’t an opportunity taken lightly, and every day, our Cougar community proves time and time again that it’s deserving of a national spotlight.”

CNN also released more details about the format of the event. Telemundo, Google and the Salem Media Group will be co-sponsors. Wolf Blitzer will host, and Telemundo’s Maria Celeste Arraras, CNN’s Dana Bash and conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt will join Blitzer in asking the candidates questions.

Details of the event have changed repeatedly. It was first scheduled for Feb. 26, with NBC and National Review as the media partners. NBC was kicked out after candidates and their supporters complained loudly that moderators of an October CNBC-hosted debate were unfair.

National Review was dropped in January after the conservative magazine published a special edition attacking Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. The issue’s cover story was headlined “Against Trump,” and more than 20 short anti-Trump essays written by prominent conservatives were included inside.

MATTHEW WATKINS reports for The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is made available here through a news partnership between the Texas Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.

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