The Republicans Missing the GOP Convention in Cleveland

A notable number of senators are skipping the convention.

ByABC News
July 15, 2016, 5:51 PM

— -- As Republicans flock to Cleveland to formally nominate Donald Trump as their presidential nominee, some lawmakers in the party are opting instead to mow their lawn, go on a road trip and irrigate the family farm, among other things.

While a majority of GOP lawmakers plan to attend -- with some planning to speak -- many members of Congress are skipping the convention.

Here's what many will be doing instead:


Instead of attending Trump’s coronation, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, a leading voice in the "Never Trump" movement, plans to “take his kids to watch some dumpster fires across the state, all of which enjoy more popularity than the current front-runners,” according to his office.

“I'll spend some time with my family, I have a farm out there that I'll have to irrigate and I'll spend time in Las Vegas and Reno with my constituents,” Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, told ABC News.

"I'm going to be fly-fishing with my sweet wife," said Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana.

House GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington, a member of House Republican leadership and the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress, will no longer be attending the convention in Cleveland, and will instead spend the week in Washington State to attend a memorial service for a friend, according to a spokesperson.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, are both scheduled to be in Cleveland and address the convention. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, will also participate in the convention.


It’s not uncommon for lawmakers up for reelection to opt to campaign instead of attend the nominating conventions.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who’s in a tight race in Wisconsin, told ABC news “my time is probably better spent in Wisconsin commenting on what happens at the convention and really relating to Wisconsin issues.”

"It’s not because of Donald Trump," said, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, who will be campaigning for his fourth term in the Senate. (Idaho has not sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1974.)

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee, will be in Arizona campaigning for reelection against Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Arizona.

"I don't think most Republican voters care whether I go to the convention or not," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, who is not on the ballot but will spend the week at home and campaigning for other Republicans.

House members like Reps. David Jolly of Florida and Mike Coffman of Colorado, who are in close contests in swing states, will spend the week canvassing their districts.


Some members are even leaving the country.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz is leading a delegation to the Middle East during the week of the convention.

“I’ve got an interest in the military, learning more about it, meeting some of our troops, so this was a great opportunity to do that,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Arkansas, who was planning to go to Cleveland before the trip came up several months ago.

“The people who are going are obviously aware that they’re going during the convention,” said Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wisconsin, a vocal anti-Trump Republican.

“I went to the convention four years ago, and there were a lot of members who didn’t go,” he added. “This has just become the story because of Donald Trump.”

Reps. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois, and Mark DeSaulnier, D-California, are also traveling as part of Chaffetz’s trip.

Overseas delegation trips are approved by congressional leadership.

ABC's Tom Thornton contributed to this report.

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