The (Greater Houston) Partnership and the Sierra Club Foundation have long planned to hold a presidential debate at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Feb. 28, just five days before the March 4 Texas primary.
MSNBC has promised to air the event, with NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert as moderator.
The plan calls for the remaining Democratic candidates to face off in one session, with the Republicans going at it in a separate debate that same evening — assuming no candidate has clinched a party nomination by then.
Originally, the organizers had expected the debate would focus on energy and environmental issues, given the energy sector's importance to the Houston economy.
But realizing theirs could be the last debate before the nominees are finally chosen, the organizers decided to broaden the topics to be discussed, although energy would still be emphasized.
Alas, there is a scheduling conflict:
CNN has announced plans for a presidential debate in Ohio on the same day as one scheduled later this month by the Greater Houston Partnership and MSNBC.
And that could prompt an earlier debate within the campaigns: Which state is tactically the better venue if the nominations aren't decided after next week's Super Tuesday showdown?
Texas awards more nominating delegates, but Ohio is more likely to be a November battleground.
Somebody is going to blink and reschedule. I'm guessing we lose again. It sure would be cool to have a contested Democratic nomination still nip-and-tuck with Texas being able to figure in to the winning difference, and a debate locally to go watch.