August 13th, 2008
04:10 PM ET
12 years ago

Another Republican senator skipping convention

Roberts is skipping his party's convention.

Roberts is skipping his party's convention.

(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 will instead be completing a 105-county tour of the state, Haase said. Polls show Roberts holds a double digit lead over Democratic challenger Jim Slattery, though the race has narrowed over the last several weeks.

Roberts joins a handful of vulnerable Senate Republicans who have flatly said they will not attend the convention, including Susan Collins of Maine, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Ted Stevens of Alaska, and Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina.

Two other vulnerable Republicans - New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker - have yet to announce if they will attend.

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."

Filed under: John McCain • RNC
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Concerned Texan

    Does this mean that there will be some empty seats for the taking at the republican convention. That was one of the reasons that I intially changed partys because I could never get a seat at the convention because of the smaller venues and now they will have empty seats. Too late to change back now!

    August 13, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. Mark Webb

    Just one question: Is McCain attending????

    August 13, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Erika, KS

    Too bad Obama was the favored chosen one. Too bad Clinton isn't the democratic nominee. Now THAT would have been a landslide!

    Here we have people who slam McCain for his age, (I didn't think we believed in age discrimination, but never mind that) then we have Obama who, lets face facts, has a very limited resume in his 47 years.

    Then there's Hillary Clinton. 60. Just about right. Kind of like Goldilocks really. Not too old, not too young. Just right. The DNC blew it. Kiss off Obama, you are TOO inexperienced. I won't be voting for Roberts either. I hope Mr. Slattery beats him up in a landslide.

    August 13, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. Voice of Reason

    Electing Obama will be the greatests disaster in American politics!

    August 13, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. Peter of Oregon

    I hope to see more Republican officials endorse Obama. In many respects his policies are more in keeping with conservative values than McCain.

    August 13, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  6. Jim in Indiana

    I admire Chuck Hagel a lot. But he is not on Obama's side other than on foreign policy. He would be a great Secretary of Defense. But not a good pick for VP. Also, just by picking him, Obama would NOT get Nebraska. Nebraska polls show McCain leading by a big margin.

    That's not the case in Indiana. Obama and McCain are neck & neck in Indiana now, with conventional wisdom saying that it will go GOP, as normal. Unless Evan Bayh is on the ticket. He is popular here, he has a good record as a moderate Democrat. He could swing a lot of independents to Obama, not just in Indiana but elsewhere.

    Joe Biden would be an ideal match for Obama. They stand almost together on all major issues. Biden has the foreign policy experience that so many would like on the ticket. He would bring no single state, as his state is Democratic anyway, but he would be a good VP, which is the important issue.

    August 13, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  7. Chuck R


    "won't be on hand to see Sen. John McCain accept the Republican presidential nomination in Minneapolis,"

    John McCain won't be in Minneapolis to accept the endorsement...

    The Convention will be in SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA

    Chuck Repke
    Saint Paul, Minnesota

    August 13, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |

    So they blindingly supported the Bush/Cheney administration and now they want to distance themselves.

    One word: TURNCOATS!

    August 13, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. thomas

    Republicans running away from their own convention? That says it all. Their slogan should be: "vote republican. we're even afraid of ourselves."

    August 13, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. Nick

    Is anyone going to the Republican convention?

    In other news, who ISN'T going to the Democratic Convention?

    August 13, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. boered1

    There is no landslide, there are too many of the radical right who would rather vote for a puppet than a black man, there are too many of the fanatical revisionist religious groups who have too much power to lose if a Democrat gets into office to allow such a thing to happen. Even now dobson and the rest of the political group over at focus on the family (why are they still tax exempt?) are planniing on putting measures on every state's ballots to get out the radical rights base (ie removal of gay rights, abortion, redefining the pill as abortion, homeschooling etc) who traditionally vote republican because they believe all democrats are athiest (over 50% of Americans are registered Democrat.. over 80% of Americans are members of mainstream religions.. but hey logic is not the radical rights strong point). So Obama will have a tough time this election, on the local scene however, the republicans know that the further they distance themselves from those in Congress now (or bush if they are in congress now) the better they will do, congress has a lower approval rating than bush so it is an easy target. I understand why the republicans are doing what they are doing but this will be a closer election than people think, the only good thing I can say is that at least the polarizing liar hillary is not running as a democrat this year so democrats have a chance at winning!

    August 13, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. Pepou

    The rats are leaving the sinking ship. And they are right.

    August 13, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  13. change

    while obama is filling a 75,000 person stadium to max capacity with a political show which will be the bejing opening of politics,

    McCain's side keeps loosing people down to a point where all he'll have is a snack bar

    August 13, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. Ron Nebraska

    I don't understand people who can't see that the election is really not a hard choice at all. The modern Republican partys' agenda is to show that government is not the answer to the problem but that government is the problem. Why then would you vote a member of that party into government when their vested interest is to make government unworkable? Think about it will you!?

    August 13, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. Montana is Obama Country

    Another bites the dust..!

    he heard Cheney was on board

    August 13, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. Bud

    Change IS in the air. McSame should check his weatherman to see which way the wind blows. The stench during the Republican convention will be overpowering. Perhaps we'll catch the Fix-News team stimulating, Fairly Unbalanced commentary from there.

    August 13, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. Kjetil

    I undstand them well. Nobody like a funeral. And its so many wingnuts in GOP so it cant be fun to stay there so many days.

    August 13, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. Barr '08

    Things younger than John McCain:
    Howdy Doody
    Area Codes
    FM Radio
    Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
    Automatic Car Transmissions
    His latest wife who injured herself SHAKING HANDS!!!

    Vote for a presidential candidate NOT endorsed by the worst president in American history!

    McCain was a traitor in Vietnam!!

    His foreign policies are based on Wikipedia!!

    Ask Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft how valuable experience is!!

    Get off my lawn!!!

    August 13, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. Proud to be American

    Wow there are a few Republicans distanting themselves from McSame as Bush... hum McBush supporters does that tell you anything? hey why haven't I been polled? I do not think the polls represent the entire US very well .... none of my friends, family or co-workes have received a phone call.... well we do not all have land lines... yeah can we poll cellular phone users? ahh email folks????? see the polling has to move with technology...

    God bless the family of the Politician in AK that was slain today.... I am concern with America mental state... one life should not be taken due to his/her political party .... God Embrace America! we need you so much.

    August 13, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. dave

    come on cnn, the rnc is in st paul, not minneapolis. you know that. at the very least you could say 'the twin cities'.

    August 13, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. Proud army and navy mom

    So is he going to link himself to the dem party? You GOPers keep distancing yourself from your conservative values and your base and we can have a 1-party system for a few years until we get some real leaders back.

    August 13, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  22. David Peter

    LANDSLIDE!! Republicans are hopeless.

    August 13, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  23. Bobby

    I hope he does not, McCain supporters wont support him again by this showing of weakness.

    August 13, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. Paul

    As a follow up to the Value Votes, Huckabee and Evangelicals:

    Let them know that the Church Age is over.

    August 13, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. GOP Terrorists have destroyed America

    More rats leaving a sinking, corrupt and inept ship. Bush and his neo-con cronies have done more damage to America than all of the Islamic extremists combined. I can't wait for the lawsuits and war crime trials to begin once idiot Bush and his fellow GOP Terrorists have left office. I hope Obama knows someone good to get rid of the stench in the White House once he gets in.

    August 13, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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