Capps, Maldonado skip party conventions

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Hundreds of California Democrats are in Charlotte, N.C., this week to watch President Barack Obama officially accept his party's presidential nomination.

Democratic congressional candidate Ami Bera isn't one of them.

"It's not going to help us win the election," the Elk Grove doctor said of spending a week away from the 7th Congressional District, where he is locked in a tight race with Republican Rep. Dan Lungren.

Almost all of the candidates running in competitive California congressional races decided to skip the national political conventions this year, citing a need to focus on the campaigns and other duties back home.

Instead of watching the Democratic convention in person, Democratic Rep. Lois Capps of Santa Barbara is hosting a convention speech-viewing party with constituents in the 23rd Congressional District, which includes portions of San Luis Obispo County.

Her opponent, former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul. But he too stayed home this year to campaign.

On Sunday, his daily campaign newsletter emphasized that elections "come down to real people facing real life problems. How are you going to pay for gas? How are you going to afford to keep your home? How do you reassure your son or daughter that opportunity is out there when they can't find a job after college?"

It wasn't just candidates who RSVPed "no."

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