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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz In Good Position For Tonight's Third GOP Presidential Debate

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KERA

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is still waiting for his break-out moment as Republican presidential candidates face-off in their third debate tonight in Boulder, Colorado.

A recent Des Moines Register poll shows Ted Cruz has moved into third place among Republican Presidential candidates in Iowa, the first state to vote. 

Cruz trails Donald Trump whose numbers have slipped some and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. 

Cal Jillson, a presidential scholar at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, says all the Texas senator needs to do in tonight’s debate is hold his own and remain viable.

“He doesn’t need to attack Donald Trump, nor does he need to attack Ben Carson, the two people who are most clearly running ahead of him.  His entire strategy is to assume without political experience their campaigns will at some point collapse, and he’ll be there to pick up the pieces,” Jillson said.

This week Cruz picked up endorsements from some of former Gov. Rick Perry’s key Texas fundraisers.  He reportedly has more cash in the bank than his opponents, and he’s well organized in the early voting states and the South, where he’s planning on a strong showing on Super Tuesday.

Meanwhile another contender with Texas ties, Jeb Bush, has cut salaries for campaign workers as he scrambles to raise money.

So as those struggling to stay on top, and others struggling to be noticed mix it up tonight, Jillson says Cruz just needs to turn in a respectable performance, and wait for opponents to falter.

Tonight's debate begins at 7:00 p.m. CST on CNBC