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Analyst: No Winners In First Gubernatorial Debate - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Analyst: No Winners In First Gubernatorial Debate

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gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli face off a debate gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli face off a debate

After this weekend's first gubernatorial debate, one former Virginia politician-turned political coach says neither side can claim a victory - at least for now.

Republican Chris Saxman represented Virginia's 20th district in the House of Delegates, which includes Staunton and Waynesboro, from 2002 until 2010. He now splits time among his family business in Staunton, political coaching, and political lobbying alongside Democrat Brian Moran, who lost the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to Creigh Deeds in 2009.

Saxman says too few voters tuned into Saturday's debate for it to make much of a difference on the actual race.

"Hardly anyone's paying attention," Saxman said. "Not many people were there, and not many people logged on to watch it live streaming."

According to PBS's live stream Saturday, only about 2,500 people were logged on at any given time. And few of those viewers, Saxman said, are likely to be swayed by political debate.

"The 2,500 people, there probably weren't two undecided voters on that thing," Saxman said. "This was for inside people who wanted to watch it."

Despite limited interest, Saxman says both Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli managed to stay on message without making potentially costly mistakes.

"I don't think there was a winner in this one," Saxman said. "They both did what they were supposed to do: limit the damage, get a message out, and get some traction."

Now, Saxman says both sides will likely work to spin the outcome of the debate in their respective directions.

"No one's going to move the needle publicly unless they have a gaffe," he said. "You've got to go back to the tape and go, ah, there's the one. There's the cut and paste that's going to be devastating in the fall."

So far, both campaigns have only rolled out a handful of advertisements focused mainly in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond and Roanoke.

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