December 22nd, 2009
03:23 PM ET
9 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. Brian Paul

    Thank God there is a few democrats that understand what all this is going to do to our country in the very near future. Government control of private industry shakes the very principles that made this country great in the first place. I would rather go 20 lifetimes with no health insurance than to allow a government to intrude an inch further into our lives. I don't care if your a Republican, Democrat or Independent you should be scared to death this health bill will pass. The government thinks your stupid, they think they know more than you do! They think they can manage and raise your kids better than you! THEY DON'T!!!! AND THEY CAN'T!! Mr. Obama is a president to all of us and I mean him no disrespect. HE HAS NEVER HELD A JOB IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR!!!! HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT THIS WILL DO TO YOUR FUTURE. GET OFF YOUR COUCH AND CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW!!!

    December 22, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Bonnie

    To Bad So Sad.

    December 22, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. timz

    People voted for Democrats in large numbers just to get rid of a horrible Republican administration, not because they believed the Dems could do a good job. And now that the Dems have proved that they're not up to the job, who do we vote for?

    We need to get rid of both of these loser parties.

    December 22, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. jfs Memhis, Tn

    If there were more Dem's like this BOZO we would not need Republicans. I think that it is pretty clear that this guy would not have received 2010 backing from the Dems...so he rightfully made a change. Just as Spector did in Pa. Really no news here...who cares about some idiot from somewhere in Alabama ???

    December 22, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Keeth in California

    If he was real smart, he would have become an independent to make a real statement about politics in our country today. The GOP is no better than the Dems. Anyone need look at our fiscal and foreign policy over the past 8 years to see that. Fail.

    December 22, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Eric

    It might seem like a smart move, until he gets teabagged in the republican primary.

    December 22, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. Tim

    Message to the Democrats – with the lyrics from Metallica, this can be them in 2010:

    At the end of your tunnel / It's just a freight train comin your way / Then it comes to be that the soothing light / At the end of your tunnel

    It looks like 1994 all over again...

    December 22, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. Texas Firefighter

    Now let me get this straight, The "progressives" (you are too embarrassed to call yourselves liberals) want to tell the Republicans how to create a big tent party; but you refuse to let anyone in your party who disagrees, is pro-life, wants smaller government, low-taxes, etc. Sounds like a lot of hypocracy to me. Thin your herd to the far left extremes and you will only represent 20% of this country. Remember, 40% of Americans consider themselves conservative, 20% liberal, and the rest independent. You've already lost the independent voters and senior citizens. Welcome to the new reality.

    December 22, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. JK Ashburn, VA

    A whole bunch of you libs have been complaining about these moderate Dems and your desire to get rid of them. It has begun.

    Now, you'll valiantly talk about how you can run a "real" Dem to re-capture the seat in 2010. Good luck with that. A whole bunch of these moderates won these seats ONLY because they campaigned as moderates (or even conservatives). With the reality of how they voted on idiotic things like stimulus, the budget, health care, and cap and trade, they'll now either be proven to be moderates or not and their districts will react accordingly.

    Either way, libs, you'll get your way – fewer moderate Democrats. But, they won't be showing up in the lib column either.

    December 22, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. John independent from NY

    Although it is graet to have one less Democrat the Republican party is good answer. They built this economic house fire that the Dems are trying to put out with gasolene.

    GO LIBERTARIAN The answer.

    December 22, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Jim

    Tony,
    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. When did the Republicans get the right to call the Dems exclusionary?

    If he wants to change parties, that's fine. Do it during an election term. I said the same thing when Specter switched. It's farily clear he ran as a Dem to get elected, and now wants to switch. Hey, good for him. I just hope that he knows the Republicans will consider him too llberal, and thus not elect him in the Primary. Best of luck with your job search, Mr Griffith..

    December 22, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. Mark L.

    Parker Griffith – You are 100% PATHETIC !! You and the Rest of the Grand Ol' Plunderers (GOP) are what makes this GREAT NATION of Ours Look Deplorable !!

    December 22, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Glad I DON'T LIVE IN ALABAMA

    He rode in and got elected on President Obama's coat tails last November. Good riddance to a DINO. I hope more of his kind of racists will leave the party

    December 22, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. RTB

    This guy wasn't a democrat anyway. He's one of the cross-dressers that call themselves a democrat to get elected than perform as a low life republican.

    Good riddance and don't come back.

    December 22, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. artraveler

    Griffth was never a Democrat and voted consistently against the welfare of the country so his change is no problem. Unfortunately, he will be the most liberal Rethugican and thus the Club for Growth has already targeted him to be replaced with a more conservative hater.

    When you are neither fish nor fiowl, no one wants you. Take a hint and retire AFTER YOU REPAY ALL THE MNONEY GIVEN TO YOU TO GET ELECTED.

    December 22, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Jeff Casto

    Hohum. One more repukeblican in the House will make no difference to anyone.

    December 22, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. harry

    For all of you Northerners that live in states with 20%+ unemployment that are bashing Alabama I have to tell you that Parkers (Huntsville) district is a high tech district with strong NASA roots that is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. I also have to tell you that you lost a good one who was a doctor and understands the healthcare system better than most. I am just amazed how blind people are.

    December 22, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Bev

    Griffith's should return the money to the DNC---as soon as Arlen Spectre returns the money to the RNC.

    The Democrats are very upset by what Griffith's did........as it makes it clear that Democratic politicians are just as much aware that the Democrats are going to get clobbered in the 2010 elections.

    Plus, they don't want others to wake up and begin to do the same thing--especially the moderates who are in conservative districts.

    Griffith's was able to see the Chicago thug politics/socialist agenda in the Democratic Party way back in August---because in August he said that he would try to make sure that Pelosi was booted from office.

    GREAT move Mr. Griffiths. The Democratic Party is no longer JFK Democrats-–they are communists/socialists/marxists (fill in the blank).

    My family has voted Democrat their entire lives. They considered becoming Independents based on the policies/actions of Pelosi and Reid. They finally made the move to Independents as soon as Obama was elected--and it became clear how he planned on "transforming" our country from capitalism to European socialism/communism.

    I am quite sure that there are a very large majority of moderate Dems who feel the same-and are doing the same.

    I

    December 22, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Donovan

    He lied about his party affiliation because he new he would never get elected as a Republican. And the pubs chide the Dems for dirty tricks. Goes to show once again how great the liars are in the Republican party.

    December 22, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Izzy

    "Parker Griffith's willingness to put the interests of his district" REALLY?? GUESS WHAT! 80% of the country that makes up these districts WANTS A PUBLIC OPTION! Yet Republicans so eager to welcome a new member did everything to deny our "interests"

    December 22, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. meltem

    For all you calling him a traitor and welcomed Arlen with open arms, you should shut up. Stuff like this happens, get over it. If he and Arlen get re-elected then they have made the right choice, if they don't then we all get new blood.

    December 22, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Russ in Benton

    Members of congress that claim to be Democrats then vote with with the Republicans should either change partys are be kicked out
    Also Joe Liberman should be stripped of his chairmanship.

    December 22, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Vincent Petrosino

    Good riddance. There are no true Democrats in South anymore anyway! This is NOT emblematic anymore than Arlen Specter was when he changed parties. Re-election is the key here! Put up a bill for term limits and them let's see what happens.

    December 22, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. katiec

    I'll bet he had a script written by the party of NOthing right in front of him. Why he ever even pretended to be a Democrat is beyond me.
    Does he truly realize what an immoral, hypocritical, big business,
    unAmerican, unethical party he is joining? A party who has no plans, no policies, only the goal to destroy our president, consequently our
    country? A party out to destroy middle class American, the less fortunate, senior citizens, veterans and women?
    He has lowered hisself to the sewer.

    December 22, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Bob Pacific Grove, Ca

    The Democrats should be happy this political chameleon has bolted to the party that most represents his narrow views.....I know I am......Give the people in that northern Alabama District a REAL CHOICE instead of BLUE DOG vs REPUBLICAN, since their isn't a voting difference....

    December 22, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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