The in-depth debate will allow Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich to engage in lengthier policy discussions. Rice University Political Science Department Chair Mark Jones says both campaigns are relatively underfunded compared to other candidates, so they both stand to benefit from the additional exposure.
"Also to date, both have done very well on the debate stage. And therefore, it's a venue where they are likely to have a positive impact on their campaign, not a negative one."
Jones says Cain will likely focus on his 9-9-9 plan and both men are more likely to criticize President Obama rather than one another. He says it's also an opportunity for them to gain support in Texas, where Rick Perry has the strongest foothold.
"Where it may have an impact as well is on some aspects of fundraising here in Texas. That is, particularly if the Perry campaign disappears over the next few months and Cain and Gingrich stay in it, this would be a possible place for the Republican donations to go."
The debate will be carried live on C-SPAN and follow what's known as the Lincoln-Douglas format. The next Republican presidential debate featuring all the candidates will be held Wednesday in Michigan.