Joe Biden to campaign with convention-skipping Claire McCaskill

Rachel Rose Hartman

Days after Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's campaign revealed her decision to skip the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the Missouri incumbent announced plans to campaign with Vice President Joe Biden.

"It's always a pleasure to welcome Vice President Joe Biden to the great State of Missouri and I am humbled by his support for my re-election campaign," McCaskill said in a statement Friday. Biden is scheduled to appear at a July 9 fundraiser for McCaskill in Kansas City, Mo.

"Vice President Biden will be able to help present the choice Missourians have in November between a Senator, like Claire, who has fought tirelessly for Missouri's middle class families and the three extreme Republican candidates who are competing to be a rubberstamp vote for special interests in Washington," McCaskill's campaign said in its announcement.

McCaskill's decision to forgo the convention, announced Tuesday, made her one of a growing number of Democrats planning not to attend the formal nomination of President Barack Obama at this summer's convention. Many of those Democrats, who are running in competitive territories, have been criticized for distancing themselves from the president for electoral purposes.

McCaskill's re-election race is considered one of the most competitive Senate contests of the year, mostly due to the competitive nature of her state. Obama lost Missouri in 2008 by less than 4,000 votes, but in this election cycle, both parties see Missouri as more Mitt Romney's territory than a swing state.

Up until now, much of the coverage of McCaskill's race has focused on the Republican field, where Rep. Todd Akin, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner are competing for their party's nomination.

But McCaskill shifts things into high gear this Saturday, when she begins a statewide RV tour dubbed "In Our Town, On Our Side," to kick off her campaign.

McCaskill said in a statement that "while the three extreme Republicans are campaigning against compromise and for the special interests, Missouri's middle class families can count on me to always be on their side—fighting efforts to privatize Medicare and Social Security, protecting affordable student loans and doing everything possible to rebuild a strong and vibrant economy that works for Missouri, not just the big banks on Wall Street."

In her announcement, McCaskill emphasized travel to and her connections with the state's "red" swaths, or the more conservative areas.