December 22nd, 2009
03:23 PM ET
11 months ago

Griffith: 'I can no longer align myself' with Dems

(CNN)– Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith announced Tuesday he is switching to the Republican Party, citing fundamental differences with his former party on key issues including, health care reform, 'cap and trade,' and the stimulus bills.

"I believe our nation is at a crossroads," Griffiths said during a press conference in Alabama Tuesday. "I can no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy, and drives us further and further into debt."

"For me to be true to my core beliefs and values, I must align myself with the Republican Party and speak out clearly on these issues," he added.

Griffith was one of 39 Democrats to vote against the party's health care reform bill last month. He is only one of three Democrats to have voted against the health care bill, the stimulus measure, and the cap-and-trade bill.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions quickly welcomed Griffith to the Republican Party, and said Tuesday's events foreshadow big GOP gains in the 2010 elections.

"This decision is emblematic of the message that millions of concerned citizens have been trying to send to a Democrat Party that has become increasingly unwilling to listen," Sessions said in a statement. "Whether Democrat leaders choose to pay attention now or wait for the electorate to send them a resounding message next November, Parker Griffith's willingness to put the interests of his district first sends a positive signal to others who have grown just as disappointed with their party as the American people have."

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen expressed outrage over Griffith's decision and requested he return the money the DCCC invested to get him elected.

"House Democratic Members and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee took Parker Griffith at his word and, as a result, invested a great deal in working with Alabamans to bring Mr. Griffith to Congress," Van Hollen said in a statement. "Mr. Griffith, failing to honor our commitment to him, has a duty and responsibility to return to Democratic Members and the DCCC the financial resources that were invested in him."

Griffith won his seat in Alabama's 5th congressional district last year by 3 points over Republican Wayne Parker. But the district went for Republican John McCain over Barack Obama by 23 points in the presidential election.

Griffith's decision won't necessarily protect him from a GOP challenge in his conservative district. Shortly after news of the congressman's decision broke, conservative activists called for a primary challenger to take on the newly-minted Republican.

"Griffith was an extremely endangered Democrat," wrote RedState's Erick Erickson. "We should now hope him be an extremely endangered Republican in a primary. We will not fix the GOP's problems if we keep allowing people who are not one of us to suddenly switch the letter next to their name and magically become one of us."

With Griffith's switch, the Democrats will hold a 257-178 advantage in the House of Representatives.

– CNN's Deirdre Walsh, Evan Glass, and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story


Filed under: Parker Griffith
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. Pragmatic

    A shallow opportunistic Traitor

    December 22, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. Moderate Democrat

    He NEVER was a Dem. Just a lying dirt bag with no morals. He's going where he belongs, with like minded morally bankrupt dirt bags, the republicans. This sadistic piece of rot has NEVER voted to better america. He has consistantly shown he wishes it's demise by the votes we continue to see. He's voted against EVERYTHING that would make this country better.

    No big loss to get rid of this dead weight. He's a turn coat, a coward and a domestic terrorist. The republican party is PERFECT for such people.

    December 22, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Russell Hammond

    "Shortly after news of the congressman's decision broke, conservative activists called for a primary challenger to take on the newly-minted Republican."

    That says it all. Griffith just gambled and lost. He forgot who and what he was dealing with.

    December 22, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. patel

    It's not like he was a Democrat anyways. It's not an abandonment when he never aligned himself anyways. Don't think of this as a victory more than a stupid politician trying to save his own ass.

    December 22, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. paul

    It will be interesting to watch the groups pounce on this one... I wonder if he'll be given the same love/hate treatment from the parties that Arlen Specter received.... obviously with appropriate commentary for political affiliation

    December 22, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Duck Fallas

    "democrat party"? Hmmm.... another childish republican twit.

    December 22, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. cjl

    Well...at least he has some integrity and common sense. He is standing up for what is right and what he believes in. One question though: Why isn't this as sensational a story as when Arlen Spector became a democrat? Hillarious media bias in action right before your eyes.

    December 22, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Liberal wingnut

    All we did was went from a right wing president to a far left wing president. Obama lied.

    December 22, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Buh-bye

    So long blue dog, you won't be missed.

    The polls are measuring 2 things - of the about 2/3 of the antis are really against it, but 1/3 are liberals who are mad the bill doesn't do more. The polls need to be worded better so we know what the people are really saying - unfortunately the media is too lazy & biased to even try for accuracy.

    December 22, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Don

    No big loss.

    December 22, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It doesn't sound like this guy really knows who he is. Why would he align himself with the Democrats if he didn't believe in or want to pass any of the things that he mentioned? It sounds like he want to ride Obama's coat tails into office despite Obama not wining the district. Some people like a split Congress/White House.

    December 22, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. Bedtime for Bonzo........

    This is because you were misaligned in the first place......you're from the south....and misaligned from any Democratic core principles. Very few Politicians from the south are actual Dems........

    December 22, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Jon

    It is high time for the conscious Dams to jump the democrupt sinking ship before it is too late. The socialist policies the Dams push down our taxpayers' throat in last 2-years since they took over the congress are now destroying our great country. Let's vote these idiotic socialists out in 2010 and restore our constitution and democracy.

    December 22, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. simp

    You loser you are and have been part of the problem. where were you ethics when GW was creating all this mess and havoc on this country, your sorry A#$ didn't say a word then about all the corruption and lies. Good riddence you are a failure and a liar.

    December 22, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Lyle

    "If I don't get my way then I quit"....sounds like the twit we used to have on our baseball team. He wasn't important either.

    December 22, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. conservative

    Smart man!!!

    December 22, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. waltinAZ

    Griffith comes from the same mold as Joe Lieberman. They try to go whichever way the wind blows. Sorry to tell you, Parker, but your walking upwind. People cannot respect these guys (I cannot refer to them as men as they have no character or principles.). Do the American and Alamban public a favor and don't play us for stupid. We no there is only political motivation behind your move. :-(

    December 22, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. Rick in OP

    He will not be the last one.

    December 22, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Tim in Seattle

    Sounds like he was a Repugnican all along.

    December 22, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Ikshaar

    "no longer align" ??... he was never (or barely) aligned with the Dems to begin with. If he thinks GOP opposition to everything is a better policy to be associated with, good riddance.

    December 22, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Jessica

    Just once I wish all these people so concerned about adding to our deficit would have thought about that when we waged 2 pointless wars.

    This guy is a loser if he cant even figure out what he stands for and why.

    It never should have taken a health care debate to clue him in to his own thoughts. I suspect, he's shifting with the political winds.

    Hey America, we've made our bed...are you ready to lie in it?

    December 22, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. 87coog

    I myself can no longer support the Democratic party in particular because of their views on 'cap and trade'. it will spell the end of us if this bill passes.

    December 22, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. George

    You never could. Now you can be a GOPER that does nothing, says no, and whines like John Boehner. You will be a true asset to the death panel party. You can vote so people can't be treated for illness.
    Wow "you MAN you"

    December 22, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Grifftith = Republican posing as a Democrat to get elected.

    Be gone and don't come back. While you're at it, take some of your right to center colleagues with you.

    December 22, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. Marie in California

    I'm with Griffith on this one! I WAS a lifelong Democrat until about a year and a half ago when I watched the shady shenanigans the DNC used to push, shove and haul Obama into his candidacy. After that , I was done with the Democrat Party......forever and ever.

    Now I call myself a "recovering Democrat" and I become increasingly appalled at the current sleazy partisan debacle euphemistically called "health care reform" but that I and many others call Obamacare. Smacks of socialism and flies in the face of the U.S. Constitution. Not to even mention it's potential to bankrupt the country! Hellllooooo! America is BROKE!

    Watch out DNC......November 2010 is coming!

    December 22, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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