Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mississippi Dems skipping convention

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Some high-profile Democrats from Mississippi have announced they're too busy to attend the 2008 Democratic Convention:

Reps. Gene Taylor, D-4th District, and Travis Childers, D-1st District, are delegates. But they don't plan to go to Denver to vote for their party's presidential nominee. It's customary for Taylor, one of the most rebellious Democrats in the House, to skip his party's conventions.

Childers, winner of a special election to fill the House seat formerly occupied by Roger Wicker, is following suit. Childers, a conservative Democrat like Taylor, is running to keep his seat from Republican Brad Davis in the fall.

"We have got our plate full," said Brad Morris, Childers' chief of staff. "I don't see us getting involved in another race."

Congress will recess for the Democratic and Republican conventions. But Morris said his boss' duties won't allow him to take a week off to go to Denver. "Not when we have constituents who need help," Morris said.

Another leading Mississippi Democrat who likely will skip the convention is former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, who is running against Wicker for the Senate seat Wicker was appointed to occupy after former Sen. Trent Lott retired.

"He's not a delegate, he's not an alternate," Musgrove campaign chairman Tim Phillips said. "We're putting Mississippi first."

Childers and Musgrove will be very dependent on African-American turnout to win in the fall. The reason for that high turnout will be in Denver the last week in August. It's not clear that snubbing the convention is the best way to go here.