The Republican presidential field meets for their fifth and final debate of 2015 as the race enters the final seven-week sprint to the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses. Much has changed since the last debate on Nov. 10 — most notably the heightened focus on national security in the wake of the Paris terror attacks and the San Bernardino, Calif., mass shooting.
Here’s a viewer’s guide for following all the action on Tuesday.
When does it start?
The undercard debate starts at 6 p.m. ET. Coverage of the main event kicks off at 8:30 p.m. ET.
You can watch both debates on CNN and can also stream them live on CNN.com and on the cable network’s mobile apps.
Where will the debates be held?
The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Who will be in each debate?
In the prime-time debate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie re-joins the main stage after failing to qualify for the Nov. 10 Fox Business Network debate. He’ll join Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Rand Paul.
Paul, a Kentucky senator, barely squeaked in after a poll released Sunday showed him with 5% support in Iowa. This is the first debate that took into account not only national polling (candidates needed to average 3.5% in recent surveys to qualify via their overall national standing) but also polls in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire (the bar was 4% or higher in either of the two states).
For the forum that’s become known as the “happy hour” debate, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham will square off. Huckabee participated in the first three prime-time debates, but missed the cut for the Nov. 10 debate in Milwaukee and failed again to make the main stage for Tuesday’s Las Vegas debate.
Who will moderate?
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer will be at the helm Tuesday night. He’ll be joined by the network’s Dana Bash and Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt.
When is the next Democratic debate?
The three Democratic candidates — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley — meet Saturday night in Manchester, N.H.