4 things to watch for during Tuesday’s GOP debate

In this Nov. 10, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, from left, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wait before the Republican presidential debate at the Milwaukee Theatre in Milwaukee. The leading Republican candidates for U.S. president are meeting for their first debate in more than a month in the shadow of terrorist attacks that refocused the race on keeping the country safe. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – The final debate of the year for Republican presidential candidates could be the last chance for some GOP hopefuls to reach undecided voters. While there’s plenty of topics to discuss, here’s a list of the four things to look for during Tuesday night’s debate.

Trump vs. everyone else

Donald Trump has lead the polls since the summer but several Republican candidates are stepping up their attacks against the billionaire businessman. Mr. Trump’s push to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States has been met with serious doubts by GOP leaders. Expect the Muslim ban to be a hot topic among all the candidates.

Cruz needs to keep the momentum going

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is seeing remarkable progress among voters in Iowa who have shifted from supporting Dr. Ben Carson to the conservative senator. Mr. Cruz is still far behind Trump in a national match up but is surging ahead of the billionaire businessman in most state polls. Iowa is the first state to vote. Its caucus is scheduled for Feb. 1, 2016.

Back from the kids’ table

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was sent to the undercard debate during the last round thanks to low poll numbers but he’s back on the main stage Tuesday night. The two-term governor is seeing a bump in the polls in New Hampshire and is in third place in most Granite State polls.

Need to stand out

While Trump, Carson and Cruz have grabbed most of the headlines over the last few weeks there are several other candidates who need to stand out tonight. Jeb Bush has recently stepped up against his push against Trump. Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul and John Kasich need to come out strong if they expect to stay on voters minds during the holiday season.

Tuesday night’s debate is hosted by CNN and begins with an undercard debate at 6 p.m. ET followed by the main event at 8:30 p.m. ET.

For the latest information, analysis and reaction during the debate, follow @chanceseales and @markpmeredith on Twitter.

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