The last time we were here — less than an hour before a Republican debate — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney seemed like the inevitable Republican nominee for president.
Since, we’ve seen former Speaker Newt Gingrich fade in the polls and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum surge. Also since the last debate, Santorum had that Feb. 7 sweep, winning Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.
Needless to say, the roller coaster of a ride that this Republican primary has been is at a pivotal point. Republicans head to the polls in Arizona and in Michigan, Romney’s home state, on Feb. 28 and the polls have so far given Romney the edge in Arizona but predicted a toss up between Romney and Santorum in Michigan. At stake are 59 delegates.
So those two candidates are bound to throw hard punches tonight. As for Gingrich, he has been struggling to raise money so this could be his chance to wedge himself back into the race.
We’ll live blog the debate, which is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona. We’ll also continue using our ALERT system, in which we’ll point out “A Line Everybody [will] Remember Tomorrow.” In other words, talkers. Make sure to refresh this page often to see the latest updates.