Early GOP Primary Debates Percolating

Friday, 01 Apr 2011 08:52 AM

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Even as Republican Party officials try to reign in and organize the presidential primary debate season, groups in early primary states are moving forward and scheduling them.

presidential, primary, debates, gopThe Conservative Leadership Conference is planning to hold a Republican presidential debate during the second night of its July 9-10 confab in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported Friday.

Conference organizers plan to invite candidates who have announced their bid for the GOP presidential nomination or those who have formed exploratory committees.

Nevada is scheduled to hold an early Republican caucus in February 2012, which would follow the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. The first GOP presidential debate is scheduled for May 5 in Greensville, S.C.

The Conservative Leadership Conference attracts hundreds of conservative activists, bloggers and leaders.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain, the former chief executive officer Godfather's Pizza, have both launched exploratory committees.

Organizers expect the debate also will draw potential GOP candidates such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. All have visited Nevada either this year or during the 2010 campaign cycle.

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