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Political analyst weighs in on Virginia's first gubernatorial debate

Political analyst weighs in on Virginia's first gubernatorial debate
Posted at 8:21 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 20:30:17-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The candidates running to be our next governor debated Thursday night in Grundy, Virginia at the Appalachian School of Law.

Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe sparred over the issues.

CBS6's Candace Burns and esteemed political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth were panelists along with moderator Susan Page of USA Today.

CBS6 caught up with Dr. Bob Friday afternoon on his way back to Richmond to get his take on the debate.

“You know typically debates are about candidates trying to frame the narrative of the campaign, trying to frame the issues that the public's going to focus on for the remainder of the campaign,” said Holsworth. “So I think we got a good sense of what both Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin want to emphasize. McAuliffe wants to talk about Covid, he wants to talk about abortion and jobs. Youngkin wants to focus on taxes, cutting costs and crime. So two very different perceptions of what they want the campaign to be about.”

So how did each do in getting his message across?

“Terry McAuliffe, did a good job getting his message across on COVID, on abortion,” said Holsworth. “I think while Youngkin did a good job on crime, I was a little surprised about his position on taxes. Not because he didn't say that he wanted to cut them, but he wasn't specific enough in pointing to the taxes that he wants to cut. He didn't spend enough time actually talking about rebating $600 of the surplus, eliminating the grocery tax, freezing your property taxes. But certainly, those folks who felt that Youngkin would crumble on a debate stage were wrong; he acquitted himself quite well in terms of presentation I thought.

Holsworth pointed out a lot can happen in the next six or seven weeks, before the election, but the commercials the candidates are paying for will tell you where the campaigns are headed.

“By and large these debates are ways for the candidates to introduce what they're going to be putting out in the media,” Holsworth said. “Terry McAuliffe already has an ad out with a physician talking about COVID. We can expect to see Glenn Youngkin ads about crime, and about tax cuts coming out very soon.”