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WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – In the first Republican presidential debate, most of the candidates opted to take a hands-off approach to frontrunner Donald Trump, and hoped that the brash billionaire would hurt himself.

Instead, he only got stronger.

The billionaire’s unexpected durability has some of his rivals shifting their strategy for Wednesday’s second showdown. Now, their goal is to engage Trump without damaging their own campaigns.

The change reflects an evolution in the way that Trump is viewed within the Republican Party. No longer dismissed as simply a summer fling for frustrated voters, Republicans increasingly see Trump as the candidate who could remain atop the field for months and win some early states.

According to a new poll from CBS News and The New York Times, there are only four points between Trump and Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. Only one Republican candidate has dropped out of the race so far — former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Trump was just in Dallas on Monday, rallying with a huge crowd at the American Airlines Center.

Trump will be standing at center stage when the 11 candidates face off at the debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. But people in North Texas can watch the 7:00 p.m. debate with some of their closest political friends at the Granada Theater in Dallas. The event opens at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday. A big Twitter screen will even be set up for the social media savvy viewers.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)