Staying Home

Claire McCaskill and Others Skipping the Democratic Convention (PHOTOS)

Some are in tight races, while others don’t like Obama—The Daily Beast runs down the candidates opting out of this year’s Democratic convention.

AP Photo (8)

AP Photo (8)

As President Obama tries to win another four years in the White House, his fellow Democrats across the country are fighting to protect their seats. With this year’s Democratic National Convention—where Obama will be officially nominated as his party’s presidential candidate—being held in September, many embattled members of Congress are opting to stay home. Though some on the right have presented the decision to skip the convention as a sign that Obama’s own party members don’t want to associate with him, U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the group responsible for getting Democrats elected to Congress, told Reuters, “If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts.” As more Democrats bow out of the event, The Daily Beast takes a look at who’ll miss the festivities in Charlotte, N.C., this year.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri

Claire McCaskill recently became one of several Democratic politicians opting out of this year’s party convention. Up for reelection in November, McCaskill has faced an uphill battle this campaign cycle in her increasingly conservative home state of Missouri, making her one of this year’s most vulnerable candidates. “In years when Claire is on the ballot, she has historically not gone to the convention,” explained one of her aides, “because she believes it’s important to stay in Missouri to talk to voters.”

AP Photo (3)

Rep. Nick Rahall, Sen. Joe Manchin, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, West Virginia

These three West Virginia Democrats all confirmed, around the same time, that they weren’t planning on making it to the Democratic National Convention. Rahall, who faces reelection this year, said he would, however, vote for President Obama, while the other two have denied confirming as much. President Obama has lost significant favor among his party members in West Virginia—in May, 41 percent of Democratic primary voters in the Appalachian state threw their support behind a convicted felon.

Colin E Braley / AP Photo

Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah

“I’ll be spending my time this summer and fall doing my job in Congress and visiting with and listening to people in Utah. I won’t be traveling to North Carolina,” Rep. Jim Matheson announced in June. Matheson’s newly drawn Utah district is one of the most conservative that any House Democrat is facing this year. He’s up against newcomer Mia Love, who’s backed by the Tea Party.

Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP Photo

Sen. Jon Tester, Montana

Like his fellow embattled congressmen, Sen. John Tester of Montana has elected to stay close to home, focusing on his Senate campaign, instead of attending his party’s convention. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 51 percent of likely Montana voters lean toward President Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

Rep. Mark Critz, Pennsylvania

“Since I was elected, my focus has been on creating jobs for people here rather than focusing on the agendas of the political parties in Washington,” Rep. Mark Critz explained when he announced last month that he, too, would not attend the Democratic National Convention. Critz’s newly redrawn Pennsylvania district leans heavily in favor of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, his campaign spokesperson pointed out.

David Duprey / AP Photo

Reps. Kathy Hochul and Bill Owens, New York

Kathy Hochul and Bill Owens, both Democratic representatives from New York, decided in unison, right after the same three-way announcement from the West Virginia Democrats, that they, too, would bow out of this fall’s party convention. “I guarantee that my time will be better spent meeting the farmers, small-business owners, and other people who put me here,” said Hochul, who, along with Owens represents upstate New York.

John Bazemore / AP Photo

Rep. John Barrow, Georgia

Rep. John Barrow’s reason for skipping the convention is no different from all the other members of Congress doing the same thing. The Georgia representative’s spokesman said in June that Barrow was “planning a number of events throughout [the] district during that time.” Like many of his fellow Democrats up for reelection this year, his district has been redrawn and now leans more to the right, making him very vulnerable as his fourth term comes to a close. Barrow, however, is a centrist Blue Dog Democrat who has gone against his party a number of times, including voting against Obama’s health-care law in 2010 and against Nancy Pelosi for House Democratic leader.

Ron Edmonds / AP Photo

Rep. Betty Sutton, Ohio

Rep. Betty Sutton is fighting to defend her House seat in one of the country’s most competitive House races, as her opponent is a fellow member of the House. Sutton’s district now overlaps with that of Republican Rep. Jim Renacci (with Renacci retaining about half of his current constituency), pitting the two against one another. Last week, Sutton said of the convention: “I would anticipate that I will have things to do in the district. There will be a lot of work to do locally. I would be inclined to be here with my people.”

Charles Dharapak / AP Photo

Rep. Henry Cuellar, Texas

Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar joined the list of Democrats ditching the convention last week. He told Politico that he’s in full support of the president’s reelection but, “as I get close to my election, I want to spend more time in my district and focus on my reelection.” He also noted that he attended the Texas state Democratic convention in June.

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Reps. Stephen Lynch and Richard Neal, Massachusetts

“I take every election seriously. This one is no different,” Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts said in a statement explaining his absence from the convention. “There is a lot of work to be done to prepare for Election Day and to get our vote out, so I plan on being here. His fellow Bay Stater Rep. Richard Neal is also skipping the event. They’re both up for reelection.

AP Photo ; Getty Images

Reps. Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre, North Carolina

Democratic Reps. Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre aren’t attending their party’s convention, but they can’t use the excuse that they don’t want to leave home so close to the election, since both are from the state where the event is being held. Not only is Kissell skipping the DNC, he also voted to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress and to repeal Obamacare, and he’s already declared that he won’t support President Obama’s reelection bid.