Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Debate
It has the potential to be the most important debate of the primary. Creigh Deeds, Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe are set to square off in Northern Virginia for the Washington Post debate at 2pm.
You can watch a live stream of the action here.
Aside from being streamed live on the internet, the debate will also be re-broadcast tonight in the Washington, D.C. television market. That means it will be seen in the most heavily populated region of the state and the “bluest” region of Virginia. It is the section of the state where many potential primary voters reside.
I’ll have a recap of the action later tonight.
**UPDATE** Find my assessment of the action after the jump…
First off let me say that I watched the debate streaming on the internet, so my perspective may be different from those who were there or watched at television.
Here is where I thought each candidate did well and where they failed.
Brian Moran- I felt that Moran had the most to gain because the debate played to a portion of the votership that he expects to do well with. My guess would be that those who took the time to watch were Northern Virginia Democratic die-hards. They probably lean to the left and are assured to part of that low turnout in June. Moran was smart to capitalize on areas where he has common ground with those voters/viewers. He pushed on hard as being the only candidate in favor of gay marriage and once again reminded them of his record on the environment. I thought he did not take advantage of his opportunity to remind people of McAuliffe’s baggage. Every chance both he and Creigh Deeds had to attack McAuliffe turned into a laundry list of issues that soon began to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. They both needed to hone in on one specific point regarding one specific issue to land a solid blow and that never happened. However, Moran had the best of moment of the debate, which was delivered awkwardly but was perhaps the most printed quote of the discussion, when he attacked McAuliffe’s knowledge of the legislative process.
Terry McAuliffe- There are many reasons that McAuliffe succeeds in debates like this, part of it is his experience, the other part is his charm. McAuliffe understands that people will only take one or two points away from an exchange like this and he finds a way to bring it back to his core issues each time. The best example of that was when he found a way (which has done three different times now) to weave gay marriage back to job creation. His response cannot make gay rights supporters happy, but it diverts attention away from the people who don’t consider it their top issue. He was at his weakest, when he attempted to talk his way around his support from high profile executives connected to Dominion energy. Bragging about not taking money from the company itself, while at the same time holding a fundraiser at a former execs house sounds like double-talk. When attempting to explain it he dug himself a deeper hole. However, I am not sure how many people care all that much about that particular issue.
Creigh Deeds- Creigh Deeds biggest problem is that he seems to be everyone’s second choice. Unfortunately this isn’t a straw poll and that doesn’t do him any good. The other candidates handle him with kit gloves, because they know even their supporters like Creigh Deeds. Deeds has still not found away to shed that general likability and turn into admiration. The type of admiration that would convince lukewarm supporters of the other two to come his way. Debates like this are Deed’s opportunity and somehow he hasn’t found a way to break through. However Deeds often displays the best, basic knowledge of the issues at hand. While the other two candidates seem rehearsed and recalling their carefully crafted position papers, Deeds always seems to KNOW what he is talking about. I would think that would be a good attribute in a governor.
So that is my take. No winners and no losers. The home stretch is ahead.