Rep. Parker Griffith switches to GOP

By JOSH KRAUSHAAR | 12/22/09 10:57 AM EST

POLITICO learns Rep. Parker Griffith will announce today that he’s switching parties to become a Republican.

POLITICO has learned that Rep. Parker Griffith, a freshman Democrat from Alabama, will announce today that he’s switching parties to become a Republican.

According to two senior GOP aides familiar with the decision, the announcement will take place this afternoon in Griffith’s district in northern Alabama.

Griffith’s party switch comes on the eve of a pivotal congressional health care vote and will send a jolt through a Democratic House Caucus that has already been unnerved by the recent retirements of a handful of members who, like Griffith, hail from districts that offer prime pickup opportunities for the GOP in 2010.

The switch represents a coup for the House Republican leadership, which had been courting Griffith since he publicly criticized the Democratic leadership in the wake of raucous town halls during the summer.

Griffith, who captured the seat in a close 2008 open seat contest, will become the first Republican to hold the historically Democratic, Huntsville-based district. A radiation oncologist who founded a cancer treatment center, Griffith plans to blast the Democratic health care bill as a prime reason for his decision to switch parties—and is expected to cite his medical background as his authority on the subject.

While the timing of his announcement was unexpected, Griffith’s party switch will not come as a surprise to those familiar with his voting record, which is one of the most conservative among Democrats.

He has bucked the Democratic leadership on nearly all of its major domestic initiatives, including the stimulus package, health care legislation, the cap-and trade energy bill and financial regulatory reform.

He was one of only 11 House Democrats to vote against the stimulus.

“Look at his voting record – he’s had substantial differences philosophically with the Democratic agenda here in Congress,” said an Alabama ally who is familiar with Griffith’s decision. “It’s something that’s been discussed for the last several months… talking to people in his family. And it genuinely is a reflection of where he feels. It’s his own personal conviction.”

Read more here
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/30896.html

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One Response to “Rep. Parker Griffith switches to GOP”

  1. Hello, first I want to say nice blog. I don’t always agree with your opinions but it’s always a interesting read.
    Keep up the great work.

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