GOP rivals barrel toward Super Tuesday after wild debate

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump and Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, from left, participate during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

HOUSTON (AP) – The GOP presidential candidates are barreling into the final stretch to Super Tuesday after a name-calling, insult-trading, finger-pointing final debate.

The Houston debate featured a tag-team attack on Donald Trump by Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Both senators are anxious to take down the front-runner before it’s too late to stop him.

Eleven states vote on Tuesday, with 595 delegates at stake. Trump has three straight victories behind him, and momentum on his side.

His rivals know they have to change that dynamic to halt Trump’s march toward the nomination.

It is far from clear that Thursday’s debate did much to solve their basic conundrum. Trump and Rubio are struggling to emerge as the clear alternative to the front-runner as non-Trump voters divide their support among the alternatives.

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