The GOP debate in Arizona this Wednesday, February 22, to be carried by CNN, could have a major impact on whether or not there may be a brokered convention when Republicans gather in Tampa this summer. Should Rick Santorum defeat Mitt Romney in Michigan, many old hats inside the Beltway of Washington, DC, will lose their confidence that Romney will win the nomination outright. With the next filing deadline for many of the remaining primaries due on March 31, including large winner-take-all states, might somebody else still jump in, like a Jeb Bush or Paul Ryan? Naturally, RightPundits will host a live blog and provide live feed and streaming video links for the Republican presidential debate this Wednesday on CNN at 8pm EST.

gop debate arizona

As unlikely as it would seem that another candidate could jump in this late in the race, the 2012 GOP presidential campaign has been a strange one. Every few weeks a different candidate appears to rise to be the front runner. Mitt Romney has been considered the ′heir apparent′ for some three years now. But the polls have been fickle. In the past 12 months, we have seen Tim Pawlenty rise to the top, followed by Donald Trump, then Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. Then Mitt Romney had a brief grip until Gingrich won big in South Carolina, followed by Romney winning in Florida and Nevada. Rick Santorum then stole the crown after his triple-state sweep two weeks ago. Of the remaining candidates left, only Ron Paul has not had his day in the sunlight as the front runner.

With the Michigan and Arizona primaries just a week away, a great deal hangs in the balance for Mitt Romney. A loss to Santorum in Michigan, where Romney was born and raised, could spell the end of his six-year pursuit of the White House. Santorum cannot be too comfortable, either, as Romney is already carpet-bombing him with negative TV ads, just as Mitt did to Gingrich in Florida. Just about every commercial break in Michigan is loaded with campaign ads on television. Romney has also gotten a head start attacking Gingrich in his home state of Georgia, hoping to prevent a resurgence on Super Tuesday on March 6.

In a worst case scenario for Romney, he loses in Michigan, which opens the door for Santorum to win Ohio and perhaps one or two other states on Super Tuesday, while Gingrich wins Georgia, and possibly Tennessee. Oklahoma could wind up being a real battle state where all three candidates do well. Ron Paul, who is the only opposition to Romney in Virginia, might give Mitt trouble in Vermont, Idaho and Alaska. Only Massachusetts and Virginia look like guaranteed wins for Romney on Super Tuesday.

So the CNN broadcast of the Republican presidential debate in Arizona this Wednesday, February 23, is crucial. Whoever does well in the GOP debate could wind up with some big wins during the next few weeks when Super Tuesday arrives. The battle between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum for Michigan could be pivotal in whether or not we have a brokered convention this summer in Tampa. Especially if another candidate decides to enter the race. RightPundits will host a live blog for Wednesday evening′s debate, which starts at 8pm EST. Links to live feeds of streaming video will be available, along with live comments from our team of political experts. Join us Wednesday night by clicking on the Cover-It-Live box below.