The man responsible for getting Democrats elected to the U.S. 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's admonition comes as a growing list of Democrats say they will not be joining their fellow partisans in Charlotte. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, one of the Democratic Party's most vulnerable candidates, will not attend, an aide said.
John Bresnahan and Manu Raju write at Politico
West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall is one of the Democrats breaking with his party on key votes, reflecting the tough reality that his home state is as anti-Obama as it gets.
“I have disagreed with previous presidents on a number of issues, as I have with this president,” said Rahall, who will vote for the Holder contempt resolution. Rahall has also bashed Obama over climate change and coal mining, two key issues in the Mountain State. “It’s just a matter of elections getting more difficult these days. … You have to inoculate yourself for what’s going to come.”
The disaffection with Obama is especially strong in the House, where members feel ignored or snubbed by the president and they have no personal ties to Obama to fall back on. One top aide said House Democrats enjoy “freedom of action” from Obama — “He’s done nothing for us so we don’t have to do anything for him.”
For historical perspective, see this Los Angeles Times headline from August 13, 1992:
Many GOP Candidates Seek to Distance Themselves From Bush : With the President's popularity at an all-time low, there is concern that he could drag other party members down to defeat.