Candidates Prep for Las Vegas GOP Debate - 8 News NOW

Candidates Prep for Las Vegas GOP Debate

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LAS VEGAS -- A new national survey finds Mitt Romney and Herman Cain essentially tied for the lead in the race for the GOP nomination for president. A CNN poll finds that two-thirds of Republicans and independents who lean Republican have not yet made up their minds.

CNN crews have been setting up throughout the weekend for Tuesday's debate. CNN Anchor T.J. Holmes explained why Las Vegas and Nevada are key for undecided voters.

Banners are hanging in front of the Venetian and the plaza area has turned into a news set for CNN as they prepare for the debate.

"There is no better place to hold a conversation about the economy than Las Vegas. You all know the numbers better than I do about the unemployment rates here, the state and the metro area, but rest of the country might not be so aware of that," said Holmes.

In August, the jobless rate in Nevada was the highest in the nation. Holmes has been in Las Vegas the last few days filing stories on the challenges facing Nevadans. He says the debate gives minority voters a chance to see what these candidates are about.

"It's one of the first early states with some diversity to its population. Iowa, New Hampshire, not the most diverse states. We understand that. A quarter of the population out here with you guys in the Nevada, Hispanic," he said.

College Republicans will be watching this debate at the Venetian and waiting to hear from the candidates.

"The voters of Las Vegas and greater Nevada want answers, and they are not getting those answers from the Obama administration," said Thomas McAllister with UNLV College Republicans.

McAllister is a junior at UNLV. His organization hasn't yet endorsed a GOP presidential candidate.

"They are all sticking to the same message -- we need jobs, jobs, jobs. And that our economy isn't producing the jobs and growth that we need right now," he said. "They want to vote for someone who's going to ensure them they will have a job and they are going to point the economy in the right direction."

Former Utah Governor John Huntsman said he will not be at this debate. Two others, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachman were threatening to boycott because of Nevada's caucus date being moved up, but they are expected to be here.

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