Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus discuss the 2016 presidential field and the effect GOP hopeful Donald Trump's candidacy is having on the Republican Party. (Washington Post Live)

2016 Pregame | Dec. 14, 2015 | 5-7 p.m. PST
MGM Grand Las Vegas, Conference Center Premier Ballroom

Campaign strategists, journalists and policymakers discussed the 2016 presidential race and what it takes to prevail in Nevada and nationally.


Republican Sen. Dean Heller Monday told Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus he thinks GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump will run as a third-party candidate, allowing Democrat Hillary Clinton to win the presidency. (Washington Post Live)
Republican Sen. Dean Heller expressed contempt for presidential hopeful Donald Trump Monday but said he'd support the Republican nominee next fall. (Washington Post Live)
Republican Sen. Dean Heller tells Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus that he believes Americans will soon realize Donald Trump, because of what he says, is not a viable candidate. (Washington Post Live)
Syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt discusses how Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump attracts voters. (Washington Post Live)
MGM Resorts chief executive James Murren gave opening remarks at The Post's 2016 Pregame even Dec. 14 in Las Vegas. (TWP)
Democratic Strategist Rebecca Lambe says the current political environment won't allow for a moderate Republican nominee in the general election. (Washington Post Live)
Radio host Hugh Hewitt, Republican strategist Frank Luntz, Democratic strategist Rebecca Lambe and The Washington Post's Dan Balz discuss the state of the presidential race, the Donald and the significance of Iowa and New Hampshire. (Washington Post Live)

(Angelina Galindo/The Washington Post)

(Angelina Galindo/The Washington Post)

(Angelina Galindo/The Washington Post)

See more photos from the cocktail party on Facebook.


5:00 p.m. | Cocktails

Lois Romano, Editor, Washington Post Live

James Murren, Chief Executive, MGM Resorts

Why the Silver State matters in national politics
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
Moderated by Ruth Marcus, Columnist, The Washington Post

Seven weeks out, what we can expect from the early states
Hugh Hewitt, Syndicated Talk Show Host, Salem Radio Network
Frank Luntz, Founder and Chief Executive, Luntz Global Partners
Rebecca Lambe, Democratic Strategist, Cassidy & Associates
Moderated by Dan Balz, Chief Correspondent, The Washington Post

Keep the party going at Famous DC’s festivities later that night!


Sen. Dean Heller

Sen. Dean Heller was sworn in to the Senate on May 9, 2011. He was previously a representative for Nevada’s second congressional district. Heller has also served as Nevada’s secretary of state and in the Nevada State Assembly representing Carson City. Heller currently serves on the on the Finance  Committee; the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; and the Special Committee on Aging. After studying finance and securities analysis, Heller worked as a stockbroker and as a trader on the Pacific Stock Exchange.


Hugh Hewitt
Syndicated Talk Show Host, Salem Radio Network

Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities, reaching more than 2 million people. Hewitt has been teaching constitutional law at Chapman University Law School since it opened in 1995. He is a frequent guest on CNN, Fox News Network and MSNBC, and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Hewitt has received three Emmys for his work as co-host of the ground-breaking Life & Times program, a nightly news and public affairs program that aired on the Los Angeles PBS affiliate KCET, from 1992 until 2007. Hewitt also conceived and hosted the 1996 PBS series, “Searching for God in America.” He is the author of a dozen books, including two New York Times best-sellers.


Rebecca Lambe
Democratic Strategist, Cassidy and Associates

Rebecca Lambe is a Democratic strategist and seasoned veteran of policy initiatives and electoral campaigns. She moved to Nevada in 2003 and is widely credited for rebuilding the Democratic Party’s campaign apparatus in the state. Lambe founded the Clean Energy Project, a non-profit organization aimed at promoting a clean energy economy nationally, in Nevada and throughout the West. She was a founding board member of Project New West and also served as Majority Leader Harry Reid’s chief political strategist. Prior to her work in Nevada, Lambe served as deputy chief of staff to the late Gov. Mel Carnahan and played a key role in his historic campaign for the Senate. She also served as state director and campaign manager for Sen. Jean Carnahan.

Frank head shot 2015

Frank Luntz
Founder and Chief Executive, Luntz Global Partners

Frank Luntz has worked for 50 Fortune 500 companies and chief executives, but he’s best known for political commentary. Since 2007, Luntz has been the “Focus Group Czar” for Fox News, conducting over 100 sessions in more than 20 states, as well as co-hosting several live hour-long prime time specials and dial sessions during presidential debates. In 2011, Luntz was the only non-journalist invited to host a debate of the GOP presidential contenders in Des Moines, Iowa, repeating that role in 2015. For the past four years, he has served as a news analyst for CBS News, focusing on corporate crisis communications and politics. Luntz was a primary night and election night commentator on MSNBC in 2000 and 2004. His recurring segments on MSNBC and CNBC,“100 Days, 1000 Voices,” won an Emmy Award in 2001. He has conducted focus group sessions for three broadcast networks, two of the three cable news channels and PBS, as well as for The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The New Yorker, The Times of London and U.S. News and World Report. His political knowledge and skills are recognized globally, and he has served as an election consultant and commentator in Canada, Britain, Israel, Ireland, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Australia, Venezuela and Ukraine. He is the author of three New York Times best sellers. From 1989 to 1996, he was an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also taught courses at Harvard University and George Washington University. In the spring of 1993, he was named a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.


Dan Balz
Chief Correspondent, The Washington Post

Dan Balz is chief correspondent at The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 1978 and has been involved in political coverage throughout his career there. He has won numerous awards for his reporting and is a regular panelist on PBS’s “Washington Week.” He appears frequently on other public affairs programs and is the author of four books.

Ruth Marcus

Ruth Marcus
Columnist, The Washington Post

Ruth Marcus is a columnist for The Post, specializing in American politics and domestic policy. Marcus has been with The Post since 1984. She joined the national staff in 1986, covering campaign finance, the Justice Department, the Supreme Court and the White House. From 1999 through 2002, she served as deputy national editor, supervising reporters who covered money and politics, Congress, the Supreme Court and other national issues. She joined the editorial board in 2003 and began writing a regular column in 2006.

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