NASHVILLE, Tenn. - On the eve of Super Tuesday, Tennessee is shaping up to be a key state in the Republican presidential primary.
Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich made stops in the Volunteer State Monday, just hours before voters in ten states go the polls.
The two Republican candidates stopped in Tennessee shortly after new poll numbers were released showing both had a surge in support over the weekend. Up until now, challenger Rick Santorum was the clear front runner.
"The early polls showed Santorum with a, in some cases, a commanding lead. In some cases, close to if not, two to one. These all show the race tightening up significantly," explained NewsChannel 5 political analyst Pat Nolan.
Nolan pointed to the fact the candidates stopped in Tennessee on Monday as a clear indication how important the state is shaping up to be in primary.
Syndicated talk show host Steve Gill said the candidates are here because some many voters are still up for grabs.
"I think part of the problem is you can't count on your supporters sticking with you. There's a lot of volatility and they're still real fluid," Gill said.
Santorum is still in the lead in Tennessee, but his two counterparts are now within the margin of error.
"Both in Tennessee, Ohio and nationally Santorum seems to be on a downslide, Romney is certainly on an upslide. And here in Tennessee Gingrich is on an upslide," according to Gill.
Gill also commented on how important a win in Tennessee is for Santorum. He needs to keep up the momentum, so he can continue raise campaign funds.
"You just can't fight if you don't have the funds to pay your staff, to buy the television and to even do the travel," said Gill.
With such a close race here in Tennessee, Nolan said it is possible, even after all the votes are counted Tuesday, we still might not have a clear picture of who will be the Republican nominee.
"We could be going on for a long time before the Republicans figure out who their nominee is and we may be close to, or after the primaries," Nolan said.