CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall plan to skip the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this summer.
The trio of West Virginia Democrats will not be part of the state delegation that will formally vote to renominate President Obama, according to a convention delegation list released Monday afternoon.
The decision to stay home comes amid pressure from state GOP leaders who have called on the Democratic incumbents to declare whether they support Obama. All three Democrats face re-election battles.
Manchin and Tomblin in particular have sought to distance themselves from the president, who is highly unpopular in West Virginia. In the state's May 8 Democratic presidential primary, federal inmate Keith Judd won more than 40 percent of the vote against Obama.
In recent weeks, Manchin and Tomblin have refused to say whether they would vote for Obama.
"Earl Ray's and Manchin's decision to run and hide rather than attend the Democratic National Convention shows a profound lack of leadership," state GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas said Monday.
Tomblin, Manchin and Rahall said they would prefer to spend their time in West Virginia during the four-day convention in September.
"I intend to spend this fall focused on the people of West Virginia, whether that's representing them in my official duties or here at home, where I can hear about their concerns and ideas to solve the problems of this great nation," Manchin said. "I will remain focused on bringing people together for the next generation, not the next election."
Tomblin also has evaded questions about whether he would vote for Obama.
On Monday, Tomblin's camp said the governor has "serious problems" with both President Obama and Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Tomblin opposes Obama's so-called "war on coal," and Romney's proposals to overhaul Social Security.
"The governor [Tomblin] feels that his time is best spent working in West Virginia to move our state forward instead of attending a four-day political rally in North Carolina," said Chris Stadelman, a Tomblin campaign spokesman.
Rahall has said he would support President Obama's re-election, but the Democratic congressman also has criticized the president on some issues. Last week, Rahall said Obama was "as wrong as he can be" on a proposed immigration plan that would stop the deportation of children of illegal immigrants.
In a statement Monday, Rahall's camp said the congressman's decision to skip the Democratic National Convention was more about timing.
"Coming on the heels of Labor Day, Congressman Rahall prefers to spend time in West Virginia with his constituents," said Aaron Pritchard, a Rahall campaign spokesman.