House Dems' campaign chief urges candidates to steer clear of convention

The top Democrat in charge of getting other Democrats elected to the House is urging his party's candidates to steer clear of the national convention later this year.

The piece of advice from Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, came during the Reuters Washington Summit Tuesday.

"If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts," Israel said of Democratic congressional candidates, according to Reuters.

The comment follows decisions by several vulnerable Democrats to skip this year's national convention -- to be held in early September in Charlotte, N.C.

"A trip to Charlotte may be interesting, but why leave your districts?" Israel reportedly said. He claimed President Obama's approval ratings had little to do with the guidance -- Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., former head of the DCCC, offered similar advice to candidates in 2008.

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But Democrats have been ruling out attendance this year at a rather steady clip.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is facing a tough re-election fight, was among the latest to decide against attending the once-every-four-years affair.

She joined a growing roster of party figures skittish about showing their faces in Charlotte, which will host what will effectively be the biggest tribute to President Obama since the inauguration.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, as well as West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall, are in that boat. This is the state where a federal inmate won 41 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary against Obama.

Several Pennsylvania lawmakers have also decided not to attend.