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. Ndubueze Chuku

    Rep. Parker Griffith, good riddance. If giving poor Americans affordable healthcare is what you say is bad for America, then we do not need people pf your ilk in the Democratic party. So go to your Anti-diversity, Southern based, ignorant party and stay there. Anyway, that's to be expected from a politician from Alabama.

    December 22, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. Victor

    His usage of the newspeak term 'Democrat Party' is telling. He was never truly part of the Democratic Party.

    December 22, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. Griffith is now a RINO with no principles

    Griffith is a political opportunist and now-RINO of the worst order. May he lose the Republican primary to a true conservative who really wants to reduce the size of government instead of just giving lip service to smaller government and then voting for bailouts and deficit spending like the other RINOs in Congress.

    December 22, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Susan

    A wolf in sheep's clothing.....a practice to get themselves ahead no matter the cost.

    December 22, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. katiec

    Eli, just look at the party of NOthings voting records.
    They have voted against anything that benefitted the middle class,
    women, veterans, only voting for the increase in minimun wage
    because an election was coming up. They tried to destroy Medicare
    with their unfunded prescription plan, have always favored big
    business over our survival.
    The fear mongering, swiftboating, lies, money being funneled
    by lobbyists, big business and the republican party to defeat health care reform regardless of what it contains have confused many.
    Far as Palin, when you have the media, especially CNN, absolutely salivating over her, goes to twitter so they can headline her almost daily, the curiosity increases. I do not believe any poll that involved intelligent, sincere people would give her any credibility. Not worried about her as with her ego, constant quest for attention and level of intelligence she will self destruct,.
    Our president will not.

    December 22, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Allison

    Griffith will "align" himself with anone who has a buck coming his way.

    December 22, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Allison

    Griffith will "align" himself with anyone who has a buck coming his way.

    December 22, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. Good riddance!

    He has voted against the health care reform bill.

    He has voted against the economic recovery bill.

    He has voted against the cap-and-trade bill.

    Ok... now the wolf decided to jump out of his sheep costume. Ta-daaah!

    Who let the dog out? 🙂

    December 22, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Jaxson

    Alabama Democrats helped get this nut-job elected, next election, they can make sure he's voted out on his geester!

    December 22, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Mike in MN

    Griffith is a smart man.
    The remaining Democrats have to be the dumbest collection of idiots in history.
    They continue to ignor the wishes of the majority of voters and cram bills they don't want down their throats and then boast about it.
    The continue to denegrate the Tea Party movement and poke fun of it while at the same time polls show more voters approve of the Tea Partiers than Democrats. Can't get much dumber than that.
    Ignor, poke fun of, insult, and flip off the majority of voters while at the same time telling them you are passing historic legislation for their good.
    There are no words to describe that level of aragonce and stupidity. I'll just call it Obamamania.

    December 22, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. gandoman

    Parker Griffith is the same person who would push women & children out of the way to get a seat in a lifeboat on a sinking ship.

    The Democratic Party isn't sinking so regardless what Griffith thinks will happen the next time he is up for re-election, he will not benefit.

    In fact, 'deserters' are generally looked upon as cowards by both
    Republican & Democratic Congressmen.

    Parker, "You Are" –
    1. the first passenger to harrass the flight attendants when the
    Captain says there is a problem.
    2. the first guy to throw in your cards as soon as the stakes are
    3. the first player to walk off the court when the outcome of the
    game is not looking good.


    December 22, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. The Root Word of Progressive is Progress

    Well then Rep. Griffith we're in agreement. We Dems can't "align" ourselves with you either and we're really, really glad to see you go to the party that you can align yourself with! That would be the party that doesn't care about middle America, in case you don't know that already.

    December 22, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. Bob in VA

    Typical Republican. A 67-year-old Southern white male. He could be the poster boy for today's GOP.

    A young child in 2050: "Mommy, what was a Republican?"
    Mommy: "Here's what they looked like, Johnny: [shows picture of Griffith]. They simply didn't evolve as the US changed, so they became extinct."

    December 22, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Russell

    I hope he likes his new office in the sub-basement.

    December 22, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. Jim in San Mateo

    He hasn't voted with the Democrats for so long, he was already a DINO. Let him become a republican. His voting record won't change.

    December 22, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. PowerToThePeople

    If any of us are smart, we will stop the political garb of "I'm a Democrat" or "I'm a Republican" (Indepents included) because it divides us as a whole. It's not about Republican or Democrat, white or black, etc., but about the "Haves" and the "Have nots". While most are concentrating on being a party affiliate and doing whatever it takes to win even if it means going down with the ship (hey let's be honest, regardless of politics GW as a CEO bankrupted most of his companies not because he's republican, but cause he's a bad business man) just to say that our party is better...Meanwhile the elite, while watching you fight a never-ending, un-winnable battle are grabbing power and becoming more elite. These elitist are both black or white (because we're all human, same body parts, same functions). These elitist love the bickering over party affiliation/color because if it didn't exist, we could be united and keep our eyes out on what they are doing and could stop them. This is just another game where you are the fan and rooting for your team and hating their opponent just because they are the opponent. Its funny that only 5% of the population are rich and rule millions of people. We have a great democracy if we actually use it instead of the oligarchy we currently use. Unite and the people will have a REAL say...or keep being on the side lines and watching decisions you dislike being made.

    December 22, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. ivan

    Who do you think your kidding. You did not have an epithany since you ran and won as a Democrat. You saw which way the wind was blowning and ran as a Democrat though you were a Republican in Democrat clothing.

    December 22, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. The Root Word of Progressive is Progress

    @Liberal Wingnut: "All we did was went from a right wing president to a far left wing president. Obama lied"

    First of all, you are wrong . . . President Obama is a MODERATE Democrat, not a liberal. I know this because I AM a liberal and I wish that the President was more to the left. He's not. Secondly, he did not LIE about anything. Everything he has done is what he said in his campaign he would do. EVERYTHING. Obviously, you conserva-can'ts only hear what you want to hear . . . or whatever crap is spewing from Fox Non-News.

    December 22, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Someone should remind the good Congressman what caused the need for the economic stimulus in the first place.

    And if you are against covering All Americans with health care, then the GOP is your party – now you can openly pimp for the medical industry, knowing full well that you're covered like nobody you represent!

    December 22, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Sadie

    This man sounds like he would push his own mother in front of a bus just to get his own way........good have voted like a republican for so long we didn't consider you a democrat anyway.......

    December 22, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. File under "Sarcasm"

    One of the few honest men/women in the House who realizes that the Democrats are selling their mothers' souls to pass their liberal fantasies on healthcare "reform", and global "warming".

    December 22, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. RB

    The Obama administration is starting to emplode. Lets see should I cut taxes or try to spend my way out of a recession. Well we all know what Obama decided to do.

    December 22, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. rfk

    As long as he represents his constituents his party affiliation should not matter. Honestly, we have to get past this ‘us and them’ mentality.

    I am doubtful it will happen in my lifetime, but I earnestly believe we will one day abandon the notion of electing officials based on ideology and start electing them on their ability to make thoughtful, well researched decisions that will ensure a healthy, well educated and prosperous country. You know – their job!

    December 22, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. Lamont

    He might as well he has done nothing for Alabama. So enjoy your chair while you can Senator because 2010 Thanksgiving will be You TURKEY

    December 22, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  25. nclaw441

    I don't know much about this congressman, but it is really entertaining to watch liberal folks on this site post such hateful things about him when he changes parties. Yesterday they would have loved anything he said.

    I am becoming convinced that for democrats, politics is their religion. They don't seem to believe in God, but rather think government is the answer to all needs and ills. Anyone who disagrees is not only wrong, but evil. Please someone show me how I am wrong here.

    December 22, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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