From The Hill comes word that Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar (28th District) will be joining many of his colleagues in skipping the Democratic National Convention in September. “As I get close to my election, I want to spend more time in my district and focus on my reelection. Right now, I have no plans to attend.”
The question is: Why? Most Democratic office-holders skipping the event are in competitive races and don’t want Obama’s unpopularity to rub off on them. Cueller is in a district that voted 56% for Obama in 2008. According to the most recent FEC reports, Cuellar has $600,000 in cash on-hand. His Republican opponent, William Hayward, hasn’t even filed an FEC report. Cueller survived with 56% of the vote in the Republican wave year of 2010, in a district that was a couple of points more Democratic leaning than it is now, despite having a perfect liberal record voting for all four of the big government expansion bills of recent years: TARP, cap-and-trade, the Porkulus, and ObamaCare.
Given all those advantages, why would Cueller feel a need to stay away from the DNC? A 56% Obama seat would usually be a few points outside what most analysts would consider a takeover target, and he’s a well-funded incumbent with an unknown, underfunded challenger. Has he seen some internal polls that give him reason to worry? Could voter ID have that big an effect on a border district (even assuming the Obama Administration doesn’t block it)?
What does Henry Cuellar know that we don’t?