Three WV Dems to skip convention

You are going to see a lot of southern Democrats - what few there are anyway - being tempted to skip the Democratic convention in Raliegh because of the president's and party's radical policies.

How toxic is the Democratic brand in WV? A federal inmate on the ballot for president received 40% of the vote from Democrats in that state.

Senator Manchin and two other Democratic leaders are opting out of attending for obvious political reasons.

The Hill:

Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Nick Rahall, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin all said they would avoid the convention, according to the West Virginia Metro News.

"I intend to spend this fall focused on the people of West Virginia, whether that's representing them in my official U.S. Senate duties or here at home, where I can hear about their concerns and ideas to solve the problems of this great nation," said Manchin in a statement. "I will remain focused on bringing people together for the next generation, not the next election."The announcements come after Manchin and Tomblin both indicated earlier this year that they were not sure they would personally support President Obama's re-election effort.

"The people in West Virginia, they basically look at the candidates - whatever you're running for, whether it be the president itself, or whatever - [they look at] the performance and the result that's been attained," Manchin told the National Journal in April. "Right now in West Virginia, these first three and a half years haven't been that good to West Virginia. So, then you look [at] what the options will be, who will be on the other end."

Tomblin reiterated that he had not decided who to back in November when discussing his decision to opt out of attending the convention.

"As he has said, he has serious problems with both Governor Romney and President Obama," Tomblin campaign spokesman Chris Stadleman told the Metro News. "The Governor feels that his time is best spent working in West Virginia to move our state forward instead of attending a four-day political rally in North Carolina."

Manchin, serving out the remainder of Senator Byrd's term, has to run in November attached to a party that advocates policies that are destroying the West Virginia coal industry. Rahall, one of the longest tenured members of congress having first been elected in 1976, is in a safe district, but it shows just how toxic Obama is to some Democrats that he has suddenly found better things to do in August than attend the convention. Tomblin isn't up for re-election until 2014.

What's interesting is that Obama's West Virginia problems extend into neighboring Pennsylvania where the eastern and southern part of the state resembles WV demographically and economically. Does this put PA in play for Romney? Ed Rendell thinks so as the share of Democratic votes could drop substantially in that part of the state.

Obama's problems in the coal belt includes parts of Virginia, and other states where he has no chance like Tennessee and Kentucky. But keep an eye on polls in Pennsylvania as we move forward to see if Obama can win back those lunchpail blue collar white Democrats who were mainly with him in 2008.