CNN to hold presidential debate in Las Vegas later this year

CNN will hold a presidential primary debate in Las Vegas later this year, the network announced Wednesday.

CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference (WRLC) have teamed up for the event, which will be held Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011, at the Venetian Resort Hotel in Las Vegas.

Nevada is an important early primary state in the nominating process.

"Republicans in Western States will play an important role in determining the next Republican nominee for president," said former Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.), chairman of the Western Republican Leadership Conference, in a release. "On behalf of the Western Republican Leadership Conference, I am excited to be working with CNN on this important debate. I look forward to hosting our 2012 Presidential candidates, and showcasing their ideas on Western and national issues."

The WRLC is made up of GOP leaders from 16 states and territories in the western region of the country.

The Western Region includes: Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

CNN is also hosting a debate Tuesday, June 7, in New Hampshire and Monday, Sept. 12, in Tampa, Fla.

Other debates include a May 5 debate in Greenville, S.C., sponsored by Fox News.

The Reagan Library had planned a May debate but shifted it to September due to the fact that few contenders have officially entered the presidential race.