Five likely Republican hopefuls are set to take the stage during a Friday presidential forum in New Hampshire, which is being billed as the largest 2012 event to date in the first-in-the-nation primary state. 

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannEvangelicals shouldn't be defending Trump in tiff over editorial Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in White House backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations MORE (Minn.) and conservative talk radio host Herman Cain will speak before scores of key Granite State donors and activists at the Presidential Summit on Spending and Job Creation.


Each hopeful will be given eight minutes to appeal to the crowd, followed by a round of questions from Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, the organizer. Pawlenty will lead the evening off, with Bachmann — a frequent headliner of Tea Party rallies also organized by AFP — set to speak last.    

The event marks the first time the two Minnesotans pursuing potential campaigns will appear together in one of the early-primary states.

For Romney, who boasts sizable leads over the Republican presidential pack in early New Hampshire primary polling, Friday will also be the first time he shares an event with other would-be opponents.

AFP says the forum offers candidates the opportunity "to detail their plans on reining in government spending, ending budget deficits and eliminating the national debt."

The event begins with a dinner to honor New Hampshire Republican Ovide Lamontagne as "Conservative of the Year." Since waging a strong primary challenge to Republican Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteLobbying World On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump GOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs MORE in last year's Senate race, Lamontagne has morphed into one of this cycle's GOP gatekeepers in New Hampshire.

Lamontagne's Granite Oath political action committee has already hosted house-party events with Santorum, Pawlenty and Cain. Both former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are on Lamontagne's schedule in the coming weeks.

"We intend to set the standard in New Hampshire for who we think is the most conservative candidate who can win," Lamontagne told The Ballot Box late last year, making it clear he intends to endorse before the 2012 New Hampshire primary.

On Saturday, Pawlenty, Bachmann and Santorum will follow up the Friday forum with a similar event organized by former New Hampshire congressional candidate Jennifer Horn, who leads the group We the People.

The First in the Nation Freedom Forum has also attracted two GOP conservative heavyweights. Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Rep. Steve King (Iowa) are scheduled to deliver keynote addresses. 

The three potential candidates will give "presentations" at the event, which will be held at Southern New Hampshire University.

— Jordan Fabian contributed.