Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna won’t be in Tampa, Fla., later this summer when his party formally nominates Mitt Romney for president.
McKenna confirmed Wednesday he intends to skip the Republican National Convention to concentrate on his gubernatorial campaign here. He did attend the last Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., in 2008.
Catching up with McKenna after a candidate forum in downtown Seattle, I asked whether he was skipping the event this year to distance himself from Romney or the national Republican party while running in a Democratic-leaning state.
“No, not a bit,” McKenna said. “It’s the difference between running for a new office and running for re-election. I really felt in ’08, as the highest-ranking Republican in the state, that I should be there in that context, but in this case I need to spend more time here in the state working on the campaign.”
The Republican convention runs from Aug. 27 to Aug. 30.
During the contested Republican primary and caucus season, McKenna declined to endorse Romney or any of his rivals. But now that the fall election will clearly come down to Romney vs. President Obama, McKenna said, “I support Gov. Romney for president, of course.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee, meanwhile, said he does plan to attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., which runs Sept. 4-6.