MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Wednesday night, eight Republican presidential candidates took the stage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to answer questions and take their stand on issues facing the country in the first Republican primary debate. But one candidate, former President Donald Trump, did not show.

Both Dr. Larry Sabato with the University of Virginia Center for Politics and his colleague J. Miles Coleman think Trump made the right decision.

"The winner was Trump," said Sabato.

Coleman says that he had no need to show. Early debates, he says, are a way to get candidate's names known to the electorate.

"Everyone for good or ill, knows who Trump is," said Coleman.

Coleman also says the former president avoided a way of looking bad.

"If you're already comfortably up, you don't want to give whoever is behind an opportunity to score points against you," he said. "It’s always the gaffes that we remember, it’s always when someone screws up."

Coleman does, however, think Trump will eventually attend a primary debate.

The next Republican primary debate will be held on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.