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July 29, 2008

Dole Missing RNC Convo

Add North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole to the list of targeted GOP Senators who will give up their hotel rooms at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Instead, the freshman Dole is going to spend her time stumping through the Tar Heel State, a spokeswoman told the Raleigh News & Observer.

Dole faces what looks like a tough race from Democratic State Senator Kay Hagan, and she's not the only one staying away from John McCain's coronation. CongressDaily's Erin McPike (subs req'd) reported last week that endangered Senators Ted Stevens, of Alaska, and Susan Collins, of Maine, will also take a pass on the four-day party, as will Colorado Senate candidate Bob Schaffer.

Stevens' absence is hardly a surprise. Stevens, the defender of earmarks and McCain, the presumptive nominee who has played up his efforts to kill earmarks and what he sees as excessive spending during his campaign, do not get along. Collins, though, is a close ally of McCain's, and Dole, one of the better-known names in the Republican Party, was given a prime-time speaking slot at the New York convention in 2004.

Three other Republican senators and two challengers have yet to decide whether they will spend a precious few days of campaign time in Minnesota. Though he's not up for re-election, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley won't be attending the convention either, after a minor coup from conservative Republicans stripped Grassley from the Hawkeye State's delegate roster two weeks ago.

At least two Democratic incumbents, Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney and Mississippi Rep. Travis Childers, will skip their party's confab in Denver.