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August 21, 2008

Mark Udall missing key convention event

Four of the leading Democratic Senate candidates will be addressing the Democratic National Convention next Wednesday night as part of a program spotlighting the party’s top recruits.

Tom Udall of New Mexico, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Tom Allen of Maine will all be speaking along with DSCC chairman Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

All of the candidates chosen to speak are running in Democratic-leaning states, and face little risk in being associated with the national party in a high-profile manner. In addition, Virginia Senate nominee Mark Warner will be delivering the keynote address on Tuesday night.

But what’s equally notable are the leading candidates who aren’t receiving the primetime treatment at the convention. Home state Senate candidate Mark Udall isn’t part of the program, even though he is one of the party’s leading recruits and Colorado is a prime battleground in the presidential race.

Udall’s communications director Taylor West said Udall had a pre-scheduled campaign fundraiser that evening, and wasn’t able to fit the convention event into his schedule. West said he will be part of a separate program on Wednesday morning featuring the leading Senate recruits.

And Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken is notably absent from the Wednesday night program, even though he is spending a day at the convention. Franken will be in Denver on Monday speaking with the state delegation, but returning home the next day so he can campaign at the state fair.

Also absent from the list are two Southern Senate candidates. Former Mississippi governor Ronnie Musgrove and North Carolina state senator Kay Hagan will not be attending the convention.

Alaska Democrat Mark Begich will also be remaining in his home state to campaign.