GOP Debate Primer: What You Need to Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The GOP horse race has quickly transformed.

Since the last Republican debate 19 days ago, Herman Cain has moved to second place in most polls, Rick Perry has fallen as far as fourth and Mitt Romney has garnered a commanding lead.

Nine candidates will take the stage at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. late Tuesday in what could turn out to be a brawl for the " Romney Alternative."
Republicans will clash at Dartmouth College on Tuesday

In preparation for Tuesday's GOP debate, here's a quick glance at how each of the candidates has jockeyed in the past week.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: His campaign shifted to foreign policy for a moment on Oct. 7 as the former governor revealed a platform that emphasized military supremacy to deter aggressors and defend U.S. allies.

Romney announced a slew of endorsements he received in the last week from politicians in key battleground states Florida and New Hampshire, including former Florida U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez and former New Hampshire Gov. Judd Gregg.

Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain: Cash donations flooded the Cain campaign immediately after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared that he wouldn't run for president. The former restaurateur has witnessed a renaissance in the polls since Christie and Sarah Palin dropped from consideration.

The former chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve also told TheStreet that he would "redefine" the Federal Reserve if elected president. Cain avoided highly critical language that has been characteristic of other GOP candidates.

Rep. Ron Paul: Paul's campaign announced that it raised more than $8 million in the third quarter, which outpaced the $4.5 million he made in the second quarter. His campaign touted the fact that the congressman received five times the number of total donors than Rick Perry did.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry: The Perry campaign announced that it raised more than $17 million for the third quarter of 2011. Perry bankrolled the cool mound of donations in 49 days as he didn't enter the race until Aug.13, midway through the third quarter.

Perry has dropped in the polls after questions surfaced about the accuracy of comments he has made since the last debate, and after the governor struggled to explain himself for a contentious racial epithet that donned a rock outside his old family hunting camp.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: Gingrich has pushed into South Carolina and New Hampshire as the former speaker has quietly sewn inroads throughout the two early major primary states. He unveiled his 21st Century Contract with America on the campus of the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., and he will remain in New Hampshire after Tuesday's debate for a speech in Concord on Wednesday.

Rep. Michele Bachmann: Bachmann has shifted her campaign strategy to focus almost exclusively on staunch conservative principles, which include the evangelical right, renunciation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and Constitutional conservatism.

The congresswoman highlighted Dodd-Frank again on Tuesday when she became the third candidate to announce a major economic and jobs plan. Central to the plan was the repeal of Dodd-Frank and President Barack Obama's health care plan.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman: Huntsman followed Romney's foreign policy speech with one of his own on Monday. Obama's former U.S. Ambassador to China outlined a platform that criticized a top-heavy, post-Cold War U.S. military that needed to be transformed for the 21st century. Huntsman said all the troops in the world couldn't amplify America's message around the globe the way that the country's values could.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum: Santorum has spent significant time campaigning in Iowa, a place where he surprised voters with a fourth-place finish in the Iowa straw poll. He also benefited when former Alaska Gov. Palin and New Jersey's Christie announced that they wouldn't enter the GOP field, which effectively solidified the choices for potential Republican donors.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson: Johnson reentered the GOP lexicon in the last debate and made a number of headlines the next morning. Johnson has targeted New Hampshire as a key campaign state, where he even outlined an explicit dollar-by-dollar campaign plan to win the state.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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