This Tuesday, October 18th, will usher in the second debate taking place this month. This time around from Las Vegas, Nevada, as part of the Western Republican Leadership Conference (WLRC). The debate is sponsored by CNN and the WRLC and will bring some focus to issues concerning western states. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, the only invited candidate from a western state, is boycotting the debate over Nevada’s decision to hold their caucus on January 14th.


Air Time: Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 at 8pm ET on CNN – Tickets

Live Stream:

Participants: Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Romney, Santorum

Report from the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Western Republican Primary Debate will focus — at least to a certain extent — on Western issues. All of the audience members are Republicans from 14 Western states.

But Sam Feist, who produces these throwdowns for CNN, won’t spill what those issues might be, for fear of letting the candidates prep their answers. And God knows we’d never want to hear a well-rehearsed answer at a presidential debate.

”I think you know what they’ll be,” Feist told us Friday.

Oddly, one of the actual Westerners running for president won’t be there. Former Utah Guv Jon Huntsman won’t be there, as he’s boycotting the debate — in protest of Nevada’s early start time. (No, we don’t understand why a candidate who is barely outpolling Invisible in the polls would turn down free media, but whatever.)

Anderson Cooper will moderate — and not in his trademark tight black T-shirt, Feist confirmed. “Anderson will be wearing a suit,” he said.

Interesting that Huntsman has chosen to boycott this broadcast since it doesn’t appear other candidates are following his lead yet. I’m betting he will regret this move if all he accomplishes is removing himself from a debate focused on issues he should be intimately acquainted with at a time in his campaign when he is deeply in debt and needs the national exposure.

More debate details:

  • Seating matters. Those candidates leading in the polls will sit in the center seats — think Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Rick Perry — and the cellar-dwellers will be on the ends. …paging Rick Santorum
  • Keeping it even. With seven mouths/egos to feed, there are always candidates who complain about not getting equal airtime. But Feist says the only thing that CNN can do is control who gets asked the initial question. After that, it’s on the candidates. Some candidates step up and speak up more, and others don’t, Feist said.
  • Get your Tweet on. Debate producers keep a close eye on the #CNNDebate hashtag on Twitter for questions riffing off the debate. “A lot of people are watching the debate as a two-screen experience,” Feist said. Each of the debates has been the top trending topic on Twitter while it was on — and for a while afterwards.
  • Other ways to watch: You can watch online — and submit questions — via or on CNN’s Facebook page. Or Twitter, of course.

So far Huntsman is the only candidate to pull out but anything could happen prior to Tuesday. Several candidates are already boycotting the Nevada caucuses due to issues outlined here, however, Huntsman is the first to carry that over to Tuesday’s debate.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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