As the media focuses on a handful of contentious town hall meetings held by Republican senators, several Democrats who face re-election campaigns this year have quietly decided to skip town halls to meet their constituents.
With the Republican Party in the majority, Senate Democrats are keeping a low profile in the hopes of giving voters fewer reasons to vote against them, the Associated Press reports.
The AP notes, “The nation’s most vulnerable Senate Democrats are avoiding town hall meetings as their Republican counterparts get pummeled by an energized electorate frustrated with President Donald Trump’s early agenda.”
Missouri’s Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill, for instance, has rebuffed offers to hold a town hall in a state that went for Donald Trump by 18 points last year.
“Seems to me that all these members of Congress are afraid to face their constituents,” Hillary Shields, a member of Kansas City Indivisible, said after the senator turned down its invitation.
West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin has also decided to bag a town hall event for his voters. Manchin has been one of the leading Democrats to give Trump and Republicans some measure of support, and it is not too surprising to see Manchin throwing in with Republicans on some issues. After all, West Virginia voted Trump with a lopsided 68.7 percent to Hillary Clinton’s low 26.5 percent. But Manchin clearly understands that he is vulnerable to being challenged by a Republican in a state turning red.
As to others, the AP noted that Ohio’s Sherrod Brown has only held phone conference calls that do not lend themselves to mass protests. Also, Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey promised to hold a town hall but has not scheduled any yet, and Montana Senator Jon Tester’s office noted he has already held several appearances, though none of them were town hall-styled events.
Democrats are forewarned, though, especially after the hostile crowd Arkansas’ Republican Senator Tom Cotton faced this week
Senator Cotton was barely allowed to get a word in edgewise as bussed-in liberal protesters screamed at him, chanted at him, and berated him for the Trump administration’s agenda.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.