Analyst explains why gubernatorial candidates taking less questions from press

Posted at 9:16 PM, Oct 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-15 23:36:13-04

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) -- The election for governor of Virginia is less than three weeks away with both campaigns fine tuning their messages to Virginia voters.

But is there a deliberate effort to minimize questions from the press?

CBS 6 has had an outstanding request to both the McAuliffe and Cuccinelli campaigns for sit down interviews with each candidate. CBS 6 submitted those requests back in July for a live, in studio interview and again on August 7th for a profile interview at a date and time of each candidates choosing.

As of October 15th, no request from either campaign has been granted.

McAuliffe and Cuccinelli have spoken to CBS 6 in the last several months in the form of quick exchanges or "gaggles" after campaign events around the state.

But, as CBS 6 political reporter Joe St. George pointed out Tuesday night, those gaggles often occur with several reporters fighting to get questions in with campaign aides often ending the sessions abruptly.

Dr. Bob Holsworth, a political analyst with CBS 6, says there is a reason the candidates and their strategists have run the campaign they are running.

"They all want to control the message that is out there - they all want to meet with the media as little as possible," Holsworth says.

That strategy, deliberate or not, is most evident with the debate schedule. Only three debates were agreed to by both candidates with only two happening in prime time.

Holsworth says in a campaign dominated by each candidates' past record, questions from the press can easily sway the message of the day.

Also, with a the proliferation of money in this race, it is easier for campaigns to get their message out with a campaign commercials than with traditional interviews.

After watching recent advertisements with Holsworth, Holsworth says its clear what message each candidate wants to send to voters.

"Each candidate is claiming that his opponent is unqualified for the job," Holsworth says.

CBS 6 reached out to both campaigns regarding access to the press. Both denied any deliberate effort is being made to limit the press, telling CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George that their candidate is accessible after most campaign events.

***CBS 6 has interviewed Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis. His interviews and articles covering him can be found here.***