Mesa, Arizona - The CNN Arizona GOP Presidential Primary debate will take place tonight at the Mesa Performing Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona at 8:00 p.m. E.S.T. The debate will air on CNN.
Tonight will be the last debate before the crucial Michigan and Arizona Republican Presidential Primaries take place on February 28, 2012 and the Super Tuesday elections on March 6.
All eyes will be on the debate performances by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney who are neck-and-neck in the polls in both Arizona and Michigan. For Romney, this will be his last opportunity to slow down the Santorum surge which is starting to sound a death-knell for the Romney 2012 Presidential campaign.
The debate is also critical to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich whose past debate performances helped him win South Carolina. Because all of the other candidates pulled out of the Georgia debate, there is not another debate scheduled to take place until mid-March. Perhaps the other candidates realized that if anyone can turn around a presidential campaign just through debate performances alone - its Gingrich.
Unlike prior debates where the candidates spoke directly to one state's voters prior to a single upcoming primary, look for the candidates to address issues in the various upcoming state contests that they want to win.
In this regionalized contest, Santorum and Romney will be speaking to the voters of Michigan, Gingrich to the southern Super Tuesday states, and Ron Paul will likely address topics that concern the upcoming Caucus states.
The Arizona topic of national concern will of course be illegal immigration - a topic that was touched on by the candidates before during the Florida debate in Jacksonville.
Viewers can submit questions to the candidates via twitter by using the hashtag #CNNDebate.