The GOP Heads to Vegas for Debate!

The fifth Republican presidential debate is set to go live tonight on CNN (Tuesday, December 15) at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Coverage will begin at 6:00 PM EST and will also be live streamed on and the CNN mobile app.

Two Debates

The first will begin at 6:00 PM EST, which will feature candidates, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rich Santorum, and Lindsey Graham.  All four failed to meet one of the three criteria in polls conducted between October 29 and December 13. In order to participate in tonight’s prime-time GOP debate, candidates were required to meet one of the three following polling requirements: 3.5% nationally, 4% in Iowa, or 4% in New Hampshire.

The Prime-Time Debate

The second debate will begin at 8:30 PM EST.  Nine candidates will appear in in the prime-time debate:

John Kasich
Carly Fiorina
Marco Rubio
Ben Carson
Donald Trump

Ted Cruz
Jeb Bush
Chris Christie
Rand Paul


Since the last debate, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has dropped out from the presidential race.  Trump remains the Republican front-runner, followed by Senators Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL). Most recently, Trump polled at 38% among registered Republicans and GOP-leaning independents in Tuesday’s Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The debate will be moderated by Wolf Blitzer.  Blitzer will be joined by CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash, and Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt.  

Who Will Hold the Winning Hand at Vegas GOP Debate? 7 Things to Watch (CNN)

6 Things to Watch at Last Vegas Republican Debate (USA Today)

Republicans Prepare to Debate Tonight in Las Vegas (Washington Post)

Ronny Lau, Legislative Policy Advisor, Center for Advocacy, Policy, and Constituency Engagement, December 14, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (