To the long list of issues that divide Virginia’s U.S. Senate candidates, you can add another: Timothy M. Kaine (D) will attend his party’s national convention this fall, while George Allen (R) won’t.
The two former governors, who are squaring off to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D), face the same tricky convention calculus candidates in other close races around the country do. It is increasingly common for hopefuls to skip their party gatherings, and that’s just what Allen will do with the Republican convention in Tampa, colleague Ed O’Keefe reports.
“Since we are locked in a close race and can’t be in two places at once, the focus will continue to be listening and meeting with Virginia families, veterans, and small business leaders on the campaign trail,” said Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis.
Kaine, on the other hand, will be attending at least part of the Democratic convention in Charlotte, though the details of his visit are still being worked out, according to his campaign. (Even if Kaine were inclined not to go, skipping the gathering would have been uniquely awkward since Kaine served as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee until last April.)
“In addition to maintaining an active campaign schedule, including his ongoing roundtable conversations with business owners, veterans, women, Latinos, and other Virginians, Governor Kaine looks forward to joining the Virginia delegation at this year’s convention,” said Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine.
Candidates in close contests are likely to be attacked whatever choice they make. Even though Allen and some Republicans are skipping their party convention, the Republican National Committee issued a news release Tuesday noting all the Democrats who are skipping their convention, suggesting they want to distance themselves from President Obama.