CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bill who? Nelson where?
The embattled senior senator from the nation’s biggest battleground state has almost no profile at the Democratic National Convention.
Bill Nelson neither asked for nor was offered a speaking role. He held no big public events. He didn’t appear at the Florida delegation breakfast.
But he did stop by and visit delegates on the floor, grant a handful of news-media interviews, attend a fundraiser and then hustle out of Charlotte N.C. after less than a day on the ground.
It’s vintage Nelson: low key and averse to overt partisanship — the essence of a political convention. Nelson, who has shied away from President Barack Obama while backing much of his agenda, didn’t have a speaking role in the 2000 convention, when he first successfully ran for Senate, in 2004 or in 2008.
“The campaign’s in Florida, not in Charlotte,” Nelson explained. “I start in Panama City and start working back from the Panhandle out east on Thursday. That’s where the campaign is.”
Nelson just isn’t the type of speaker a convention would feature anyway, according to those who know him.
“His style is more tailored to small groups, speaking with voters one-on-one,” said David Beattie, a pollster who works for Nelson.
“I don’t know all of the inner workings of how a convention is put together,” Beattie said, “but it all depends on who fits their messaging, what’s right for the hall.”
By that standard: Florida isn’t right for the Democratic National Convention.