This trend toward skipping the national convention “is something that’s been sort of happening slowly over the years,” says Jennifer Duffy, a longtime campaign-watcher at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. She says she started noticing this trend in 2004, with both parties. Some candidates stay for a day or two, but not the whole convention.
On the Republican side, there are fewer announced no-shows so far. Rep. Denny Rehberg, the Republican challenger to Senator Tester in Montana, told The Hill newspaper on Monday that he’s not going to the Republican convention in Tampa in late August.
Part of the problem, says Ms. Duffy, is that the conventions are now being held so close to Election Day, Nov. 6, that they put candidates who are in competitive races in a bind.
“Politically, it’s smart to skip,” she says. “I don’t know that it does Claire McCaskill a whole lot of good when she has a huge fight on her hands.”
Mr. Obama is not particularly popular in Missouri, so for McCaskill, a photo op with the president likely doesn’t do her much good. McCaskill endorsed Obama in January 2008, making her one of the first senators to back him.