West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has let it be known that he will forgo attending the Democratic convention later this summer. Manchin has also refused to say if he will vote for the standard-bearer of his party, President Obama.
Two other prominent West Virginia Democrats will also skip the convention; Rep. Nick Rahall and Governor Ray Tomblin.
“I intend to spend this fall focused on the people of West Virginia, whether that’s representing them in my official U.S. Senate duties or here at home, where I can hear about their concerns and ideas to solve the problems of this great nation,” said Manchin in a statement. “I will remain focused on bringing people together for the next generation, not the next election.”
The announcements come after Manchin and Tomblin both indicated earlier this year that they were not sure they would personally support President Obama’s re-election effort.
“The people in West Virginia, they basically look at the candidates — whatever you’re running for, whether it be the president itself, or whatever — [they look at] the performance and the result that’s been attained,” Manchin told the National Journal in April. “Right now in West Virginia, these first three and a half years haven’t been that good to West Virginia. So, then you look [at] what the options will be, who will be on the other end.”
Tomblin reiterated that he had not decided who to back in November when discussing his decision to opt out of attending the convention.
“As he has said, he has serious problems with both Governor Romney and President Obama,” Tomblin campaign spokesman Chris Stadleman told the Metro News. “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.”
The West Virginia Republican Party was quick to condemn Tomblin and Manchin over the news.
“We all know the only reason they’re refusing to attend the DNC Convention is they’re afraid to tell the people of West Virginia who they support for President, and any attempt to suggest otherwise is political spin aimed at purposefully misleading the voters,” said West Virginia GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas in a statement.
No doubt the president’s war on coal has something to do with the decision of those three Democrats to decline the opportunity to be seen with Obama, as well as other Democrats who have embraced the president’s inane energy policies. And they probably won’t be the only southern Democrats who will find something better to do that week than go to Charlotte.