December 22nd, 2009
03:23 PM ET
8 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. Eli

    haren, and I fill sorry for your education level. typical lib-nut job

    December 22, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Cindy

    He rode in on the wave of Democratic popularity, now, he's trying to ride on to a second term on the waves of Republicans....I don't think so. Republicans are going to get "whipped" right out of office, and this traitor will too. he zigged when he should have zagged!!!

    December 22, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Bob

    I have a question to all of the people spewing their usual hatred towards the GOP or anything Conservative. Where was your outrage when Arlen Specter switched sides? Seems you did not have a problem when that happened. I would suggest that if you can't be objective in these matters that you should not voice your feelings or call people names. It shows a lack of intelligence and maturity.

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

    It amazes me that so many of the posters here actually think that these politicians do anything except what is best for themselves. Democrat, Independant, Socialist or Republican (and anything inbetween) its all the same story. The trick is to vote for the rookie that still has his rose-colored glasses on and get rid of him as soon as they clear.

    December 22, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Stacey

    LOL! Go ahead and join the party that ran this country into the ground in the first place. The republican party has no ideas, no solutions, no answers, no nothing. Go and join the Grand Obstructionist Party. You'll be running back to the Dems for sure.

    December 22, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. PT

    I have hope that all of the independents that voted believing all of BO’s BS have woke up to the fact it liberal business as usual. That 2010 will see the exit of those who make back room deals and continue to wok only for themselves. Reid maybe gone, afraid Pelosi will be there until she decides she can do no more damage to our country. With any luck she’ll no longer be speaker though.

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

    Smart Man Excellent choice.
    Distance from obama is just what he needs

    December 22, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. notfooledbydistractions

    He can no longer align himself with the Dems? When did he start? His voting record was more like a republican than a democrat, so...don't let the door hit ya'.

    December 22, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. ICARE

    Uh, why didnt people start switchign side when the ELEPHANTS gave W a blank check? Our Congress just kept letting W sign things left and right.

    You are 8 years too late for this drama.

    We need the Clintons to take care of the economy and Obie to take care of the international stage. We need some hjard-core cleanups. Obie NEEDS a new ECO team!! The one with him right now is BRAIN-DEAD!! It's like having a gun without the ammunition

    December 22, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Adam

    Have fun Griff, the GOP will eat you alive because you are not conservative enough. Do you meet at least 7 out of 10 of the conservative criteria? If not they will stab you in the back come election time.

    December 22, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. bob in LA

    Sounds like another politcal shift of reelection to me.
    What kind of Democrat was he in the first place?
    Now he opppses healthcare and TARP- fine.
    But what about issues like gays in the military? Same sex marriage?
    Abortion? higher taxes on the top 1% of the population? Ending the wars in the middle East?
    At what point did he change? These are issues at the heart fo the DNP and have been for some time.
    I wonder when he will switch back?

    December 22, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. ICARE

    Yeah me too!! I can NO LONGER align with all of Congress!!! We need a smarter, quicker and more responsive Congress that can address and understand issues.

    We need less sympathy for lobbyists and more sympathy to doing the right thing!!

    Government has a responsibility to uniformly provide stability. The private sector has a responsibility to live up to the name of creativity to help fuel job growth and less of fueling CEO's paychecks.

    December 22, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Bubble of Sanity

    No one with any common sense could "align himself" with the Democratic party right now. My question is, why would he want to be a Republican either?

    Republican and Democrat have become just two sides of the same socialist coin. Like professional wrestlers, they put on a show for the public, then they go out and dine in fine restaurants together.

    If he really wants to make a statement, he should become an Independent or a Libertarian.

    December 22, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Mike in MN

    The only Democrats that are listening to the American people are the Blue Dogs. And it looks like many of them can be bribed. Griffith appears to be a rare Democrat with the character to stand for what he believes and to stand on the side of the people. I'm not supprised a man of character and honesty would not want to call himself a Democrat. While the remaing Democrats continue to screw the American people and flip them off while spending our nation into oblivion, this man has made the decision to stand with the majority of the people and stand by his values. Good for him.

    December 22, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. PT

    To JJ from his district, be careful your district maybe over run with liberals looking for work, lol. Oh wait, liberals don’t have a lot of common sense and would rather wait for handouts from BO.

    December 22, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Charlier Brown

    "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."

    Go ahead, Griffith, apparently, they're all waiting for you with open arms?

    December 22, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. Charlier Brown

    "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."

    Go ahead, Griffith, apparently, they're all waiting for you with open arms.

    December 22, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. jane

    – As long as you don't help another George Bush get into office, I'm sure the Democratic party will do fine without you. Just don't be too disappointed when you learn that Republican tacttics are probably a lot less morally sound than they would like the country to believe.

    December 22, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  19. Stacey

    "mike,
    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"
    -------------------------------–
    No, Eli. Think about what you're saying. The republicans said health care would be "Obama's waterloo." Pawlenty stood on the steps of the Capital and said "no republicans would vote on a health care bill." The republicans planned in advance to say "NO" to everything Obama proposed (before any spending began). The republicans say NO to everything because they have absolutely no solutions nor ideas whatsoever. They had eight years to do something for the American people. What did they do? You got it – NOTHING!

    December 22, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. Celia Swoboda

    How can you switch parties if you are an elected official?

    December 22, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. Dennis, Millbrae, CA

    Sure, align himself with the party that ran up record deficits, erasing a surplus, during the last eight years. Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.

    December 22, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. GOPer

    Please. Earth to Rep. Griffith...the majority of our nation's DEBT was actually created under GOPer administrations.

    Parker should fit "right" in with the debt he now appears to owe back to the DCCC. Yee-haw y'all! Give me a break.

    Signed, a fellow southerner, but not a GOPer.

    December 22, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Jim

    The guy voted with the Dems 84.9% of the time, I guess he won't pass the GOP purity case.

    December 22, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. Alice

    How is it possible to switch parties while holding office. Wasn't he voted in as a democrat. I think that this a bit of a kick in the ass to the people that voted him in and to the people who donated to his campaign. He without a doubt needs to give back all of his campaign money

    December 22, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. robwestchester

    Good. Don't let the door hit you on the way out! Other conservative "Dems" are welcome to join him.

    December 22, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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