(Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is advising House Democrats – especially those in competitive races – to stay away from the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., later this summer so they can campaign in their home districts.
"I'm not encouraging anyone to go to the convention, having nothing to do with anything except I think they should stay home, campaign in their districts, use their financial and political resources to help them win their election," Pelosi said in an interview for POLITICO Live's "On Congress."
The minority leader's comments come after a number of major issues have surfaced around the time North Carolina voters favored an amendment banning same-sex marriage in June. Other issues plaguing the Democrats soiree include a sexual harassment controversy that involved state party officials, and unions upset that their workers are not the only ones building construction platforms and laying electrical wiring.
But Pelosi isn't the only Democrat leader advising members and candidates to steer clear of the Democratic convention. Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and is responsible for gaining more Democrat seats in the House.
So what is his advice to the candidates?
"If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts," Israel told Reuters in late June. "A trip to Charlotte may be interesting but why leave your districts?"
Pelosi says the primary reason she is issuing this advice is since Democrats are nominating an incumbent president, their participation in the process is not as important.
"We nominated a president last time. We have an incumbent president of the United States. We're very proud of him. There certainly will be enough people there to express that pride, but I'm not encouraging members to go to the convention no matter what the situation was, because they can be home. It's campaign time. It's the first week in September," said Pelosi.
Of the many issues surrounding the convention in Charlotte, the one involving unions may be the biggest headache for Democrats this year.
Traditionally, unions – specifically construction and trade groups – have been one of the largest financial contributors to the party and to liberal candidates supporting their views. But they are most angry over the fact that North Carolina is one of the least unionized states in the nation and to protest, they are holding a "shadow" convention in Philadelphia on Aug. 11.
However, most of the major unions will still attend the convention in Charlotte though about a dozen smaller unions have said they will not attend. Approximately a quarter of Democratic convention delegates are members of a union.