'Sin City' sets the scene for Democrats' first 2016 debate

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders in the spin room after the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Hillary Clinton after the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Jim Webb after the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Bernie Sanders in the spin room after the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders leaves the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders watch the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders watch the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are seen on-screen from the filing room during the the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on stage at the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Five Democratic Presidential candidates line up on stage at the at the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Audience members hold their hands over their hearts during the start of the Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Supporters of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders sit before the start of the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Former Gov. of Md. Martin O’Malley arrives at the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz talks with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in the spin room before the start of the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Donna Brazile speaks in the spin room before the Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Sen. Harry Reid speaks before the start of the Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Harry Reid talks to reporters before the start of the first Democratic Presidential debate on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Security forces arrive at the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev. 
  • Inside the spin room before the first Democratic Presidential debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • A technician rests in a corner before the start of the first Democratic Presidential debate on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • An empty debate room is seen before the start of the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • A microphone is checked before the start of the first Democratic Presidential debate on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • A reporters rests on the carpet floor aside a tangle of microphone cables.
  • Reporters mingle before the start of the first Democratic Presidential debate on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • A billboard showing a picture of Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton advertising the upcoming Democratic Presidential debate is seen at the Wynn Las Vegas resort and casino on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • The casino floor of the Wynn Las Vegas is pictured the upcoming Democratic Presidential debate on Oct. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.

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Updated

The neon lights and bustle of the famed Las Vegas strip set the scene Tuesday for the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle — a veritable political fight night. Candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee tonight took their turn in front of the cameras in the first of six scheduled primary debates. On the stage in Nevada, an early primary voting state, Clinton tried to widen her lead as the front-runner while relative unknowns like Webb and Chafee took the opportunity to try to gain a significant foothold in the race. 

The face-off took place at the Wynn Las Vegas, a premier hotel and resort where preparations were long been underway. The stage was set, the lights adjusted, and the wires taped down. The Wynn housed not just candidates, supporters, and staff, but throngs of reporters, as well. 

In the hours leading up to the start of the debate, reporters jostled to speak with the candidates and any other political figures they found. Candidates worked to maintain their composure in those crucial hours as they rehearsed their best sound bites. As with every debate, they were tested not only by their fellow candidates but the press corp as well — in addition to facing blinding flashes fired off by numerous photographers. It isn’t often that these candidates are in the same building, under the same spotlight.

Redux’s Mark Peterson was on assignment for MSNBC and captured the highs and lows of the debate. Refresh this page for ongoing updates and all the latest photos. 

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

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