Profiles in Cowardice? Democrats Not Attending DNC Convention

By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief, US Daily Review.

It seems almost daily that prominent members of the Democratic party are deciding not to attend the Democratic National Convention this year.  Talking Point Memo recently did an excellent slide show indicating some of the many leaders in the party that have decided not to attend (quoted extensively in this piece).  As the event gets closer, many more will likely decline the opportunity to be seen on the TV at the DNC.

Many Democrats are Avoiding Obama, Reid and Pelosi

In spite the poor performance by the Republicans in the House of Representatives and the impotence of the GOP in the Senate, Republicans are likely to win both Houses in 2012.  They should add (slightly) to their majority in the House and with 2 out of every 3 incumbents in the Senate up for reelection being Democrat, the GOP should enjoy (at least) a slight majority in the Senate.

Thanks to state Legislature victories in many states of the union, redistricting is heavily favoring Republicans in several areas once dominated by Democrats. Previously strong Democratic seats now have slight GOP majorities, and the changes happened over night.  Democrats are scared and although most of these members have largely provided quick approval for Obama’s policies, they are all distancing themselves from the controversial and polarizing president.

  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) “In years when Claire is on the ballot, she has historically not gone to the convention,” the aide said, “because she believes it’s important to stay in Missouri to talk to voters.”
  • “I intend to spend this fall focused on the people of West Virginia,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.VA.), who is facing a tough re-election fight in November. Manchin has refused to say whether he will vote for President Obama, and he has publicly distanced himself from the president more than once.
  • Rep. Nick Rahall, also a West Virginia lawmaker, has said on record that he will vote for President Obama in November. His decision to skip the convention, however, didn’t earn him much praise from Republicans.
    “Rahall may have realized his re-election chances are sinking but hiding from Obama’s convention won’t change Rahall’s record of supporting President Obama,” said Nat Sillin, spokesman for the NRCC.
  • Rep. Mark Critz (D-PA) faces a tough re-election battle in a newly drawn, six-county congressional district where President Obama is currently trailing Mitt Romney by double digits, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • Freshman Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-NY), the first Democrat to win the 26th Congressional District in 40 years, has said she’ll vote for Obama, but cited state obligations as a reason she won’t be attending the convention.
  • “I’m not going,” Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) told The Salt Lake Tribune. “This is an active election year in Utah and I want to spend time there.” This isn’t the first time Matheson has skipped the convention, but the lawmaker has said he will support President Obama in November.
  • Both Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) (above) and his challenger in November, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), are planning to skip their respective party conventions.
  • West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has made it clear that his decision to skip the Democratic convention was an Obama snub.
    “Gov. Tomblin has made the decision to not attend the Democratic National Convention,” his campaign spokesperson said. “As he has said, he has serious problems with both Gov. Romney and President Obama. The governor feels that his time is best spent working in West Virginia to move our state forward instead of attending a four-day political rally in North Carolina.”
  • Rep. Bill Owens, another upstate New York Democrat facing re-election in the fall, is also taking a pass at the convention. Owens narrowly won re-election in 2010, and his campaign spokesman told The Daily that he has “just has a packed schedule back home.”
  • Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), dealing with a newly redrawn district that leans Republican, is also taking a pass on the convention. Barrow is “planning a number of events throughout [the] district during that time,” his spokesman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • “I would anticipate that I will have things to do in the district,” Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) told the National Journal. “There will be a lot of work to do locally. I would be more inclined to be here with my people.”
    “She may think that avoiding the convention will help distract voters from her anti-Ohio votes but her record in Congress proves that she has been a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama,” said NRCC Spokeswoman Katie Prill.
  • North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre hasn’t stated yet whether he will attend the Democratic convention, but has refused to say if he will be supporting President Obama in November.
    “We’ve always been steadfast in our work for eastern North Carolina and I’m grateful because we’ve had Republican and Democratic friends who have supported us because they know my heart is there and it’s not about a party agenda or any other person’s agenda,” McIntyre told WETC-6, a local news station. “Our focus is on the congressional race in eastern North Carolina.”
  • Moderate Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) has no plans to attend the convention, telling Politico he wants to “focus on [his] reelection.”

This list is only expected to grow.  If you know of more, please let us know by mentioning them in the comments below.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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