December 22nd, 2009
03:23 PM ET
4 years 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. WHAT!

    Its people like Griffith, who give the state of Alabama a bad name. We are famous as being a racist state. C’mon, give us a break, stop all this crazy politician stuff, and put someone in office who can handle things when the going gets tough. These unintelligent, thinking Republicans need to step to the side and let some real people help Alabama become the state we can be proud to live here. Not, just be proud of Alabama college Football team! ROLL TIDE!

    December 22, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Right PGH

    Nelson of TN.... It is easy to point a finger and spew the same old talking points....dig in and think for your self... you'll find the truth...
    and it will set you free.... because after the spending the Dem gov't
    has initiated over the last several years....yes they have been in power that long .... but you better do it quickly... soon the truth will cost you. In fact, the way they are spending it will cost generatiions to come.

    December 22, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. meltem

    Hey glad I don't live in Alabama, resorting to name calling is truely immature. If your logic is true and republican = racists does democrat = lazy, dumb, uneducated, and short sighted?

    December 22, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Mike in jax

    Good riddence to bad rubbish.

    December 22, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. white female

    They should make that lair pay back all the money, let him get from the RNC. These southnerrrrrr, make me sick they are so hateful.

    May they all pay for their dirty deeds,
    We will make it through this with flying colors, when one door close another one open.
    Have a good Hoilday...From the Dems and our fine President Obama and his admin. What an educated well spoken man of honor, and respect.

    December 22, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. joec

    Democratic Party= The party of bribes!

    December 22, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Eli

    katie, you say the RNC is out to get all of those people. why is your guy single handedly ticking off every one of those groups? It really doesn't make sense. Sarah Palin is more popular than obama right now. Thats pretty dang bad

    December 22, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. Mike

    The republicans keep saying wait for 2010 but our problems are here now. Real Americans want progress no matter the party in charge. Just look at the approval ratings for repubs in the congress, they are below the dismal number democrat members. The repubs have radicalized to such a degree that they boarder on fascists. As an independent I can't see how those radicals are going to make any progress courting the independent voters that usually get someone in office.

    December 22, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. Jeff

    Good riddance. Perhaps the United States should now allow the south to secede from the union. Let the ill-informed, blinded by propaganda people of the south form their own country. Then 100 years from now we can look back and see how the United States has progressed while Dixieville has further regressed. Of course not all people from the south are like this, nor from the rest of the U.S. The U.S. and Dixieville will allow a one year amnesty for people to decide what country they want to live in. Is there any representative or senator willing to bring forth this legislation? Perhaps you Rep Griffith? By the way China is starting service on a 217 mph train on December 26. It covers a distance equal to Boston to Norfolk, Virginia in 3 hours for about $100. The U.S. is falling farther behind. Thanks conservatives.

    December 22, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. billy123

    Big deal he was going to be defeated by the GOP in the next election anyway. Maybe he will become a tea bagger too?

    December 22, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Gabby

    What a fool! If this is the kind of decisions you make, you do belong in the Republican party. I would be embarrassed to tell others that I belonged to the Party of NO. Republicans seem to have forgotten that they were elected by the PEOPLE to do the work of the people. The only work they have done this year was to try and kill any of President Obama's work to take America out of the disaster that the R's got us into after 8 years of Bush. We are better off without you and so are the American people.

    December 22, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. marcus (seattle)

    i can understand him having frustrations with the democratic party. but, if you are saying that the republican party better represents your values, you're not saying much about yourself.. let's see, the party that flushed the US economy into the toilet, started a trillion dollar war in a country that never attacked us, is so soft on terrorism that they sat on their thumbs while attacks were being carried out on our soil.. and you're saying THAT party better represents your beliefs ?? scarey

    December 22, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Bill NC

    This guy was never a Dem anyway...good riddance

    December 22, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. haren

    Why Can't Vice President vote to break filibuster is beyond my imagination.
    If he can vote when it is 50/50 tie.
    This is for you Alan Greyson, let us change this rule.

    December 22, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Republicans are the American Taliban

    The devil claims another soul....

    December 22, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. Mlynn

    This is just the beginning! Laugh about Alabama all you want. They have plenty of jobs available because the big guys are leaving the North in droves! They have had it with the Union bosses running over workers who just want to work and take home a paycheck. Good for you Mr. Griffith stay true to your beliefs.

    December 22, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. F-dawg

    Good riddance. You were never alligned with them in the first place. Have a good time losing to an even more conservative Republican in the primary.

    December 22, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Eli

    we all want progress, but progress for the sake of progress with no meaning and ridiculous spending is not what we need. The gop has come up with plenty of ideas which were not even considered by the Dems. Why do you think they are saying no to everything the Dems try to force through.

    Think about what you are saying

    December 22, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Tim

    Griffith has shown that his only commitment to the Democratic Party was that he realised he could ride the wave of 2008 to get himself elected, and eligible to the more than generous remuneration package that comes with being a member of Congress, and then after a suitable period of time return to the Party of his true beliefs. If he won't voluntarily return Democratic money he should be taken through the courts until he has repaid every dime.

    December 22, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. haren

    I fill sorry for poor perople living in all these red state, they are brain washed beyond the limit by FOX News, Rush,Beck,Hannity and stupid TEA party guys.

    December 22, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Worst president ever

    Why are so many liberals hating this guy? I thought all democrats were open minded and tolerant of all views? Weren't democrats and the media the first to criticize Republicans for getting rid of Arlen Specter, since he wasn't in line with the party's views? Democrats are such hypocrites.

    December 22, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. JJ from his district

    As a voter in his district I can say nobody around here actually thought that he was a Dem. He only got the nomination because their wasn't another choice. He won because this district because everybody liked his predecessor Buddy Crammer, who retired.
    And for all you northerners that think that it is a bad thing to from the south,this district has a 6% unemployment rate and jobs we cant fill.

    December 22, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. nomorepoliticsplease

    to four and the door: oh yeah, right, the Republicans are representing the American people? PUUUUUUUHHHHHLLEEEEEESE!! They are ALL POLITICIANS! they are representing their wallets and their lifetime aspirations for being CAREER politicians......not a single one of the "representatives" gives a ding dong about the people that they dupe into voting them into office!

    December 22, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Matt

    And this is exactly why Alabama is known as the backward state!! Gotta love it!

    December 22, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. Flyer69

    Good luck on reelection!

    December 22, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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