NRCC chair to candidates: Pretend you

Last week the National Journal reported that Bob Schaffer is among nine of 12 targeted Republican Senate candidates who are skipping — or likely skipping — the Republican convention inMinneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., in September. A week later the Washington journal The Hill is providing a bit more context, as in advice from the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman that candidates not only avoid the GOP national convention but to actually “distance themselves from politicians they may be serving with next year.”

On July 25 the National Journal noted that for many Republicans in targeted races, the convention is “not a choice destination.” And that includes Colorado.

Nine of 12 targeted Republicans running in the most competitive Senate races this fall are either skipping the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., or have not decided whether to attend.

Among those who will not attend are Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, who is not close to presumptive presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who is a McCain loyalist. Stevens and Collins will use the convention week to focus on their campaigns.

Also sending regrets is former Rep. Bob Schaffer of Colorado, running for the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Wayne Allard.

Schaffer’s Democratic opponent, Mark Udall, has the advantage of having his party’s convention in his home state, the National Journal noted.

And on Thursday The Hill followed up on advice dispensed by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.,via conference call, telling GOP congressional hopefuls that, with congressional approval ratings worse than when the GOP lost the majority, candidates “should not be afraid to criticize both political parties including Republican members of the House.”