GOP Contenders Meet For Final Debate Before Super Tuesday
First, because it has been nearly a month since the top four contenders, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul, have participated in a debate. Presumably they’ll have a lot to say. Much has changed since the last GOP debate on Jan. 26. A ramped-up on-air battle has seen Romney’s super PAC spend a staggering $14 million, unsurprisingly mostly in attack ads aimed at his competitors.
Paul has declared Santorum a “pretend" conservative, deeming his voting record “atrocious” and criticizing his lack of consistency. Romney has lost the endorsement of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who painstakingly announced, "I was wrong,” putting his weight behind Santorum instead.
On the other hand, Donald Trump has declared his endorsement for Romney instead of the popularly projected Gingrich, enhancing his announcement with a succession of fundraising phone calls.
Gingrich, seen by some as the underdog and reported to be under pressure from the right wing to drop out and consolidate conservative support for Santorum, has expressed concern for the upcoming primary in his home state of Georgia. In short, it’s been an interesting month.
Further, this is the last GOP debate before Super Tuesday. March 6 will bring a series of state primaries and caucuses in which delegates are selected for national conventions wherein each party’s presidential candidates are officially nominated. It's largely considered the most reliable indication of a presidential candidate’s national electability. Initially, there was a scheduled debate in Georgia on March 1, just days before Super Tuesday, but after Romney claimed he was unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts, Santorum and Paul were quick to follow suit.
Hosted by CNN and the Arizona Republican Party, Wednesday's debate marks the 21st of the race so far. While the high volume of perpetual debates has become something of an idiosyncratic trademark of the GOP race and a source of national amusement, the Arizona debate is expected to be crucial in determining the tenor of the voting results.
Hopefully the candidates will answer some of the pressing top "10 Questions Neon Tommy Would Like To See The GOP Candidates Asked.” Look out for our live bloggers Wednesday who will provide commentary in real time throughout the debate.
Reach staff reporter Michelle Toh here.