The PJ Tatler

Sen. Claire McCaskill, Other Dems Ditch the Obama DNC Convention (Updated)

DemocRats, sinking ship, you know the drill:

Claire McCaskill will not be attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, a McCaskill aide confirmed to TPM Tuesday. McCaskill joins a list of vulnerable Democratic politicians whose home districts are hostile ground for President Obama and who will be steering clear of the convention.

Augusta U.S. Rep. John Barrow will skip the Democratic National Convention in September, adding to a growing list of Democrats distancing themselves from the national party’s major quadrennial get-together.

Barrow spokesman Richard Carbo said Tuesday that Barrow is not going to Charlotte because he is “planning a number of events throughout [the] district during that time.”

Barrow is in his fourth term and faces a difficult re-election test in a district newly redrawn to lean Republican. He moved from Savannah to Augusta this year to remain in the reshaped 12th District.

North Dakota Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp will skip the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this September.

Heitkamp’s spokesman Brandon Lorenz told Hotline On Call that the former state attorney general will be campaigning in North Dakota rather than attending the gathering.

Heitkamp is locked in a tight race with Republican Rep. Rick Berg. North Dakota has leaned increasingly Republican in the last few years, and President Obama is unpopular in the state. Heitkamp has distanced herself from the president, particularly on energy issues.

That’s about half a dozen vulnerable Dems who are electing to be about as far from Obama’s party in Charlotte as they can be. But they can’t hide from their record: McCaskill was among Obama’s earliest endorsers and has carried his water in the Senate ever since.

Update: More House Dems are about to find reasons to spend more time in their districts.

The man responsible for getting Democrats elected to the Congress this fall has a message for his party’s candidates: Stay away from the Democratic National Convention in September.

“If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts,” New York congressman Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the Reuters Washington Summit on Tuesday.

Israel emphasized that Democratic President Barack Obama’s poll ratings – which have hovered around 50 percent – have little to do with his stance.

“I don’t care if the president was at 122 percent favorability right now,” he said. “I think (candidates) should be in their districts,” rather than spend time at the convention, which will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 3-6.