Candidates consider impact of President Trump on Governor's race

Published: Sep. 13, 2017 at 8:58 PM EDT
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With Labor Day behind them the candidates for Governor, are working hard and wasting little time as they woo Virginia voters.

"There's no question, now it's a hundred yard dash to the finish line," said Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 political analyst Bob Denton.

And as the campaign accelerates toward November 7th, Denton says we're getting a better look at the leading candidates' strategy.

"I think the Northam strategy is kind of interesting,"Denton told WDBJ7 Wednesday morning. "He's somewhat playing it safe avoiding some of the debates. They're really counting on that urban crescent. And they also would like to nationalize this race. Let Trump indeed be a part of this race, and be a referendum on Trump."

If Northam hopes to energize Democrats who opposed the President, he says Gillespie is performing a balancing act to keep Trump loyalists happy while he courts moderate Republicans and independents.

"Obviously he's focusing on Virginia, keep it very much on Virginia and that's why we see such detailed policies that he has," Denton said. "He has to have part of his calculus, that larger issue of Trump, how much a part of this campaign will it be?"

The race also includes Libertarian Cliff Hyra, who says he offers an alternative on many issues the other candidates simply aren't addressing.

We'll get a better idea of where the campaign is headed in the final weeks, next week, when Gillespie and Northam meet in northern Virginia for their second debate.