Democratic campaign chairman Steve Israel to candidates: skip convention

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Fourteen Democratic congressional candidates have already RSVP’ed “no” to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is encouraging more Democratic candidates to follow suit.

“If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts,” New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the DCCC, said Tuesday at the Reuters Washington Summit.

Although Israel says Obama’s low poll numbers in certain areas did not influence his advice, the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee isn’t buying it.

“I think it says a lot when you have several of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country going out of their way to announce the fact that they’re not going to be attending the president’s convention,” RNCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek told The Daily Caller.

According to Bozek, many Democratic candidates have recognized that Obama is “such a drag on their candidacy.”

“I think Steve Israel has seen the president’s polling throughout the country and understands that in order for some of these candidates to win they are going to need to separate themselves from the president’s job destroying policies,” she said. “The bad news is for these members, they have a clear voting history of voting alongside the president.”

The most recent Rasmussen Reports tracking poll has Obama garnering 45 percent of the vote nationwide against GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s 46 percent.

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill announced Tuesday that she will not be attending the convention. McCaskill is the third Democratic senator, and eighth Democratic member of Congress to announce they intend to skip the convention. (FLASHBACK: Senators who plan to skip Democratic convention praised Obama in 2008 [VIDEO])

McCaskill has stressed that her decision to skip the three-day convention has nothing to do with the president.

“You’ve got to say to people at home, which is more important,” McCaskill said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Going to a place with a bunch of party honchos and having cocktail parties or being at home talking to them? So this has never been a hard call for me. Everybody is trying to make this a big deal and narrative.”

Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report, told TheDC that Israel’s advice is not unusual.

“This happens all the time. It’s standard fare,” Rothenberg wrote in an email. “People running in districts and states where a sitting [president] — or his party — is unpopular often skip national conventions. And Israel’s advice is standard fare, as well. There is nothing unusual about any of this. As usual, some people are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

The Democratic National Convention Committee declined to comment about Israel’s advice to candidates.

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