Sen. Pat Roberts (KS) is now the eighth Republican senator to announce that they will not attend the GOP Convention in St. Paul, Minn., next month.
Roberts spokeswoman told the Topeka Capital Journal today that Roberts will be campaigning that week, finishing up his 105 county statewide tour during the convention week.
Four others who’ve announced they won’t be attending are — Ted Stevens (AK), Elizabeth Dole (NC), Gordon Smith (OR), and Susan Collins (ME). All are running for re-election and are in close races. (Collins may have the easiest race, but she’s never been a close ally of McCain.)
Three other GOP senators who are retiring this year have also said they’ll skip the St. Paul festivities — Larry Craig (ID), Chuck Hagel (NE) and Wayne Allard (CO).
And the list could grow. Two more GOP senators locked in tough re-election races — John Sununu (NH) and Roger Wicker (MS) are still undecided about attending.
(CNN) – Another Senate Republican is officially skipping the party’s national convention next month, the latest sign vulnerable Republicans may be wary of linking themselves to the GOP brand this election cycle.
Pat Roberts, the two-term senator from Kansas who finds himself in a closer re-election bid than initially expected, won’t be on hand to see Sen. John McCain accept the Republican presidential nomination in Minneapolis, his spokesman Molly Haase confirmed to CNN.
Roberts’ decision comes a week after Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Cole reportedly suggested some embattled Republicans should steer clear of the GOP Convention.
According to a report in The Hill, the Oklahoma congressman also urged Republican lawmakers to feel free to criticize the party -– including prospective future colleagues — citing dismal congressional approval ratings. “These ratings are worse than we had on the eve of losing the majority,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to say you are disappointed in fellow Republicans… don’t hesitate to be anti-Washington, D.C.”