Don't be a stranger

A handful of Republican candidates in some of the country's most competitive Senate races have so far decided against face time at the RNC in September, or so reports the National Journal:

Among those who will not attend are Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, who is not close to presumptive presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who is a McCain loyalist. Stevens and Collins will use the convention week to focus on their campaigns.

Also sending regrets is former Rep. Bob Schaffer of Colorado, running for the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Wayne Allard.

Six others -- Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, John Sununu of New Hampshire, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and Gordon Smith of Oregon and challengers John Kennedy of Louisiana and Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico are still on the fence. Their spokesman offered responses ranging from "there are no plans yet" to "no decisions have been made."

By contrast, most Democrats in those races are either planning to attend the party's late August convention in Denver or are leaning toward attending the event that will formally make Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois the party's nominee for president.

The Republican convention will be bookended by speeches from President Bush, whose low approval ratings have caused many candidates to keep him at arm's length, and McCain, who is still trying to mend fences with conservatives. But none of the absentees or potential no-shows is publicly citing Bush or McCain as the reason for their decisions.

I'm not sure if it's too late to submit candidates for the RNC theme song, but here's a suggestion to woo back those wandering hearts:


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