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Flashback Friday: 2012 DNC Convention Abstainers

- May 6, 2016

Let's Take A Look At The Democrats Who Thought It Politically Prudent To Skip The 2012 Convention

TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • On Flashback Friday, we take a look at the lengthy list of Democrats who in 2012 thought "the risks of attending the convention that will renominate [Obama] outweigh the benefits."

  • At least 18 prominent Democrat politicians thought it better to stay home than be seen at the 2012 Democrat convention, including most of West Virginia's delegation.

  • Those who did attend the convention expressed frustration with Obama's lack of accomplishment.

"THE RISKS OF ATTENDING THE CONVENTION THAT WILL RENOMINATE [OBAMA] OUTWEIGH THE BENEFITS"

"Vulnerable Democrats Looking To Distance Themselves From President Obama Have Found An Easy Way To Bolster Their Independent Bona Fides: Just Skip Obama's Big Party." (Dan Hirschhorn, "More Dems Plan To Skip Convention," The Daily, 6/20/12)

  • "They've Come To The Same Conclusion: That The Risks Of Attending The Convention That Will Renominate The President Outweigh The Benefits." (Charles Mahtesian, "Convention Absentee List Grows," Politico, 6/20/12)

A NUMBER OF DEMOCRATS SKIPPED THE 2012 DEMOCRAT CONVENTION

#1: SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO): Sen. McCaskill Did Not Attend The Democrat National Convention. "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." (Pema Levy, "Claire McCaskill Will Not Attend Democratic National Convention," TPM, 6/26/12)

#2: SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): Sen. Tester Decided Not To Attend The Democrat National Convention In Order To Concentrate On His Senate Race. "Both Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) will skip their parties' upcoming national conventions, their campaigns told The Hill on Monday, in order to concentrate on their Senate race." (Cameron Joseph And David Kaner, "Montana Senate Candidates Will Skip Parties' Conventions," The Hill, 6/25/12)

#3: SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Sen. Manchin Declined To Attend The Democrat National Convention. "On Monday, West Virginia 'super delegates' Sen. Joe Manchin, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-Beckley, announced they would not attend the 2012 Democratic National Convention, set for Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte, N.C. All have expressed concerns about the policies of Democratic President Barack Obama." (Joselyn King, "House Candidates Not Attending Convention," Steubenville Herald-Star , 6/20/12)

#4: GOV. EARL RAY TOMBLIN (D-WV): Gov. Tomblin Declined To Attend The Democrat National Convention. "On Monday, West Virginia 'super delegates' Sen. Joe Manchin, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-Beckley, announced they would not attend the 2012 Democratic National Convention, set for Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte, N.C. All have expressed concerns about the policies of Democratic President Barack Obama." (Joselyn King, "House Candidates Not Attending Convention," Steubenville Herald-Star , 6/20/12)

#5: REP. NICK RAHALL (D-WV): Rep. Rahall Declined To Attend The Democrat National Convention. "On Monday, West Virginia 'super delegates' Sen. Joe Manchin, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-Beckley, announced they would not attend the 2012 Democratic National Convention, set for Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte, N.C. All have expressed concerns about the policies of Democratic President Barack Obama." (Joselyn King, "House Candidates Not Attending Convention," Steubenville Herald-Star , 6/20/12)

#6: REP. MARK CRITZ (D-PA): Rep. Critz Declined To Attend The Democrat Convention. "U.S. Rep. Mark Critz said on Tuesday he will skip the Democratic National Convention in favor of campaigning in Pennsylvania, much like top elected Democrats in neighboring West Virginia who are disgruntled with President Obama." (Salena Zito, "Rep. Mark Critz, Other Dems, To Skip Convention In Favor Of Campaigning In Pennsylvania," Pittsburgh Tribune Review , 6/20/12)

#7: REP BILL OWENS (D-NY): Rep. Owens Decided Not To Attend The Democrat National Convention After He Declined To Endorse Barack Obama Following His Narrow Reelection Victory In 2010. "At least half a dozen Democratic officials have said in recent days that they won't attend the Democratic National Convention this September in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the president will formally receive the party's nomination for a second term. The latest: New York Democratic Reps. Bill Owens and Kathy Hochul, both of whom won special elections in recent years that were heralded by party leaders." (Dan Hirschhorn, "More Dems Plan To Skip Convention," The Daily, 6/20/12)

#8: REP. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): Rep. Hochul Decided Not To Attend At The Democrat National Convention In Charlotte. "At least half a dozen Democratic officials have said in recent days that they won't attend the Democratic National Convention this September in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the president will formally receive the party's nomination for a second term. The latest: New York Democratic Reps. Bill Owens and Kathy Hochul, both of whom won special elections in recent years that were heralded by party leaders." (Dan Hirschhorn, "More Dems Plan To Skip Convention," The Daily, 6/20/12)

#9: REP. JOHN BARROW (D-GA): Rep. Barrow Decided Not Attend The Democrat National Convention, Opting To Schedule Campaign Events In The District Instead. "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.'" (Daniel Malloy, "Barrow To Skip Democratic National Convention,"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution , 6/26/12)

#10: REP. JIM MATHESON (D-UT): Rep. Matheson Did Not Attend The Democrat National Convention. "Utah Rep. Jim Matheson told The Daily today that he won't be going to Charlotte, North Carolina, in early September, where the president will formally receive the Democratic nomination for a second term. 'I'll be spending my time this summer and fall doing my job in Congress and visiting with and listening to people in Utah,' Matheson said. 'I won't be traveling to North Carolina.'" (Dan Hirschhorn, "DNC? No Thanks," The Daily, 6/21/12)

#11: REP. STEPHEN LYNCH (D-MA): Rep. Lynch Did Not Attend The Democrat National Convention To Focus On His Unopposed Primary Election. "Rep. Stephen Lynch, a 9th District Democrat who is unopposed in the primary but will face a general election challenger, will also be staying home. 'I take every election seriously. This one is no different,' Lynch said in a statement. 'There is a lot of work to be done to prepare for Election Day and to get our vote out, so I plan on being here.'" (Shira Schoenberg And Robert Rizzuto, "At Least 2 Massachusetts Congressmen To Skip Democratic National Convention In Charlotte, The Republican, 7/2/12)

#12: REP. RICHARD NEAL (D-MA): Rep. Neal Decided Not To Attend The Democrat National Convention. "At least two members of the state's congressional delegation are staying home because of the election, including U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, a Springfield Democrat. 'It's the week of the election, so the Congressman is going to be staying in Massachusetts,' said Neal campaign spokesman Matt Fenlon." (Shira Schoenberg And Robert Rizzuto, "At Least 2 Massachusetts Congressmen To Skip Democratic National Convention In Charlotte, The Republican, 7/2/12)

#13: REP. JERRY MCNERNEY (D-CA): Rep. McNerney Did Not Attend The Democrat National Convention. "Add Rep. Jerry McNerney to the list of Democratic elected officials who won't attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this September even as they try to retain their seats." (Josh Richman, "McNerney Will Skip Convention, Garamendi Unsure," Political Blotter, 6/27/12)

#14: FORMER REP. CHARLIE WILSON (D-OH): Rep. Wilson Did Not Attend The Democrat National Convention Due To A Scheduling Conflict. "Democratic U.S. House candidates Charlie Wilson in Ohio and Sue Thorn in West Virginia won't attend this summer's Democratic National Convention, their respective campaigns said Tuesday." (Joselyn King, "House Candidates Not Attending Convention," Steubenville Herald-Star , 6/20/12)

#15: DEMOCRAT CANDIDATE SUE THORN (D-WV): Thorn Declined To Attend The Democrat National Convention. "Democratic U.S. House candidates Charlie Wilson in Ohio and Sue Thorn in West Virginia won't attend this summer's Democratic National Convention, their respective campaigns said Tuesday." (Joselyn King, "House Candidates Not Attending Convention," Steubenville Herald-Star , 6/20/12)

#16: DEMOCRAT SENATE CANIDATE RICHARD CARMONA (D-AZ): Carmona Decided Not To Attend The Democrat National Convention. "Presumptive Arizona Democratic Senate nominee Richard Carmona does not plan to attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. …" (Sean Sullivan, "Carmona Planning To Skip Dem Convention," National Journal's Hotline On Call, 6/26/12)

#17: DEMOCRAT SENATE CANIDATE HEIDI HEITKAMP (D-ND): Heitkamp Decided Not To Attend The Democrat National Convention, To Focus On Her Campaign In North Dakota. "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." (Julie Sobel, "Heitkamp Skipping Dem Convention," National Journal's Hotline On Call, 6/26/12)

#18: DEMOCRAT CANDIATE JOSEPH KENNEDY III (D-MA): Kennedy Decided Not To Attend The Democrat National Convention. "The Democrat with the most name recognition running to replace Frank - Joseph Kennedy III - will stay in Massachusetts the week of the primary." (Shira Schoenberg And Robert Rizzuto, "At Least 2 Massachusetts Congressmen To Skip Democratic National Convention In Charlotte, The Republican, 7/2/12)

CONVENTION ATTENDEES EXPRESSED FRUSTRATION WITH OBAMA'S LACK OF FIRST TERM SUCESS

"Added Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, Who Has Served As A Business-Savvy Surrogate For The President's Re-Election Campaign: 'This Is A Less Romantic Time, A Less Romantic Campaign.'" (Sam Stein and Ryan Grim, Op-Ed, "Barack Obama Promised A New Kind Of Politics, But Played The Same Old Game," The Huffington Post, 9/2/12)

Phil Wheeler, A Connecticut Convention Delegate: "I Know People On The Left Who Are Criticizing The President. I Understand Their Frustration." "Phil Wheeler, 70, came to Charlotte from Connecticut to serve as a convention delegate but marched in solidarity with other union members. He wiped the sweat from his forehead a few times. It was hot and humid, but Wheeler said he was going to stay with the march. 'I know people on the left who are criticizing the president. I understand their frustration. You can't accomplish a lot when people are working against you.'" ("Marchers Lament NC Union Stance But Support Obama," The Associated Press, 9/3/12)

Florida Delegate Jonathan Kendall: Focusing On Healthcare Before The Economy Was A "Major Flaw." "'I think probably the Affordable Care Act could have been placed behind the job creation effort; I think that was a major flaw,' said Jonathan Kendall, a Jewish rabbi and an elected delegate from Stuart, Fla. 'It doesn't diminish the importance of the Affordable Care Act, but it was two years that was devoted in the midst of a terrible recession.'" (Lois Romano and Manu Raju, "Democratic Delegates Not Disappointed," Politico, 9/3/12)

Illinois State Sen. Kwame Raoul: "You Are The President Of The United States And You End Up Wearing The Shirt Of It [Poor Economic Conditions]." "Asked how the mood among delegates has changed since 2008, Illinois State Sen. Kwame Raoul, who holds Obama's old Senate seat, said the president is viewed as bearing some responsibility for the country's situation even if congressional Republicans won't cooperate. 'Now we have the reality of a president that has to unfortunately wear the shirt of all of the conditions of the country today - notwithstanding the fact that many of the conditions, there's not much he can do about,' Raoul said. 'Nonetheless, you are the president of the United States and you end up wearing the shirt of it.'" (Lois Romano and Manu Raju, "Democratic Delegates Not Disappointed," Politico, 9/3/12)

Wisconsin Delegate Jeff Johnson: "When You Promise Big Change, Do Big Things." "'Given the circumstances - and you have to qualify it given the circumstances - I think, I'd give him a B+ I'd be honest with you….What would have changed it from B+ to an A? If he'd had the guts to put a single-payer health care on the table,' said Jeff Johnson of Wausau, Wis., a retired parole officer. 'I understand the powerful forces that were lined up against it, but still, when you promise big change, do big things.'" (Lois Romano and Manu Raju, "Democratic Delegates Not Disappointed," Politico, 9/3/12)

Bert Scott, A Charlotte Resident Who Attended A Delegate Party: "Any Time The President Attacks Big Business, I Have A Bad Feeling In My Stomach." "'Any time the president attacks big business, I have a bad feeling in my stomach,' said Charlotte resident Bert Scott, 60, who works in finance, as he sipped wine at a delegate party Sunday night at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. That's one reason Scott said he planned to donate more to the Obama campaign this year than he did in 2008. 'Last time, I was running on adrenaline,' he said. 'This time, I'm running on fear.'" (Matea Gold and Alana Semuels, "For Democrats, Jubilant Days Of 2008 Are Distant Memory," Los Angeles Times, 9/3/12)

Billy Halstead, Peoria County Democrats Chairman: "I Don't Think He Was Aggressive Enough" In His First Term. "Billy Halstead, chairman of the Peoria County Democrats from Peoria, Ill., said the president has done a 'fantastic job' but faulted him for being too accommodating to Republicans. 'I don't think he was aggressive enough to start off,' said Halstead. 'He tried to compromise [and say], 'Let's all be friends. It didn't work, did it?'" (Lois Romano and Manu Raju, "Democratic Delegates Not Disappointed," Politico, 9/3/12)


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