The count of prominent Democratic Party politicians who have decided not to attend the Democratic Party's convention in Charlotte, thereby attempting to avoid direct association with the formal renomination of incumbent President Barack Obama, is up to seven. Press coverage has been sparse. One can only imagine how much media end-zone dancing there would have been in 2004 had one governor, one senator and five congresspersons chosen not to attend the Republican National Convention to renominate George W. Bush.
On Thursday, the Hill had the story about the latest declared non-attendee, who admittedly is the least surprising addition to list (internal links are in original):
Dem Rep. Matheson will skip Democratic National Convention
Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) will skip the Democratic National Convention, making him the latest in a string of conservative Democrats to take a pass on the party confab.
"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 told The Daily. "I won't be traveling to North Carolina."
Matheson is running in the most heavily Republican district of any Democrat in the House — the newly drawn district would have given President Obama just 41 percent of its vote in 2008. He's routinely broken with his party, voting against their healthcare reforms as well as climate change legislation, though he's said he'll vote for Obama in the fall.
Matheson's support for Obama in November begs an obvious "What's the point?" question about why he won't go to Charlotte. But the Salt Lake Tribune notes that Matheson has never attended a Democratic National Convention in four opportunities going back to 2000. It's almost as if the six-term congressman is worried about catching a disease or something.
Matheson's opponent, Mia Love, is perhaps his strongest challenger yet.
The six other non-attendees are: West Virginians Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Joe Manhin, and Rep. Nick Rahall; Pennsylvania's Rep. Mark Critz; and New York Reps. Kathy Hochul and Bill Owens.
Press coverage has been predictably sparse, as the following Google News searches will demonstrate (typed exactly as indicated between brackets, sorted by date with duplicates):
- ["jim matheson" convention] -- Four results, consisting of the Hill and Tribune stories already noted, conservative blog Hot Air, and UtahPolicy.com.
- ["mark fritz" convention] -- Nine results, five of which are arguably establishment press outlets, including CNN, Politico, USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and NBC News's The Grio, which is calling the "opting out" Dems "conservatives." Please: Critz's 2011 Club for Growth rating was 12%; Hochul's, 2%; Owens, 11%; Rahall, 6%; Matheson, 37%.
- ["Kathy Hochul" convention] -- Seven results; Politico is the only national establishment press outlet listed.
A similar level of GOP non-attendees at its national convention -- shoot, even one or two -- would almost certainly bring out establishment press talk of "polarization" and predictions of electoral disaster in the fall. But not when Dems are involved.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.