January 4th, 2010
05:34 PM ET
4 years ago

Parker Griffith's staff resigns

Most of Rep. Parker Griffith's staff resigned Monday.
Most of Rep. Parker Griffith's staff resigned Monday.

Washington (CNN) – Most of Rep. Parker Griffith's staff resigned Monday morning, nearly two weeks after the former Blue Dog Democrat announced his intention to join the Republican Party.

Eleven staff members tendered their resignation, including Griffith's chief of staff, legislative director and press secretary. Griffith's campaign consulting team announced in December that they were ending their relationship with the first-term congressman.

"Parker Griffith has abandoned the legacy of conservative leadership," Sharon Wheeler, Griffith's chief of staff said in a statement released by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

"We believe he made a mistake – a well-intentioned but misguided mistake that is not in the interest of the great people of North Alabama who elected him a year ago as a Democrat," Wheeler said in a statement, adding that staffers "cannot, in good conscience, continue working for him."

Griffith was first elected in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote in the conservative 5th district of Alabama. John McCain beat Barack Obama by 23 points in the district that cycle.

Full statement after the jump:

For immediate release: Monday, January 4, 2010

Representative Parker Griffith’s Staff Resigns

~Say Independent-Minded Democrats Succeed for North Alabama~

WASHINGTON, D. C. – Nearly every staff member of Representative Parker Griffith’s office tendered their resignation this morning in response to his recent decision to change party membership. This included the Chief of Staff, along with the entire legislative and communications team. In departing Griffith’s office, the staff characterized his party-switch as a “mistake” and emphasized that this district has “benefited” from conservative Democratic leadership. Many of the staff members had worked for Griffith since before he arrived in Washington including several who worked on his campaign for Congress in 2008.

"Alabama's Fifth District has deserved and has benefited from great Democratic conservative leadership since Reconstruction. And until now they had it,” Chief of Staff Sharon Wheeler said. “But Parker Griffith has abandoned the legacy of conservative leadership provided by Bud Cramer, Ronnie Flippo, Bob Jones, Howell Heflin, Jim Allen, Lister Hill, John Sparkman, Big Jim Folsom, and so many more.”

Joining Wheeler in departing from Griffith’s staff were: Megan Swearingen (Legislative Director), Brian Greer (Senior Legislative Assistant), Will Crain (Legislative Assistant), Sean Magers (Press Secretary), Arinze Ifekauche (Legislative Correspondent), Chase Chesser (Legislative Correspondent), Mary Lou Hughston (Staff Assistant), Dr. Anjali Shah Kastorf (Congressional Fellow), Leslee Oden (Congressional Fellow), and Andrew Menefee (Intern). The staff members waited until they could return to Washington to resign. Last month, Griffith’s campaign consulting team announced they had terminated their relationship with Griffith.

Wheeler continued, “I appreciate Congressman Griffith's being a very dedicated congressman. But we believe he made a mistake – a well-intentioned but misguided mistake that is not in the interest of the great people of North Alabama who elected him a year ago as a Democrat. As his staff, we wish him only the best, and we all remain committed to the citizens of the Tennessee Valley. But we cannot, in good conscience, continue working for him. It is with deep sadness that we leave our work for the Fifth District. But because we are unwavering in our own principles, we have no choice but to move on. We do not know what the future holds, but we are taking a leap of faith with the belief we will soon find ourselves in the employment of principled public officials."

ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS

Sean Magers, Press Secretary –

"It has been a privilege working for a Blue Dog for the past year, and I look forward to continuing to promote the progress already achieved in twelve short months by the Democratic Party. Working for my home Congressional District has afforded me a true passion to work for the results that are generated by a thoughtful Democratic process, and I look forward to taking that work ethic with me where ever I go.”

Will Crain, Legislative Assistant –

"It has been a true honor serving the people of my home district and state, but I cannot in good faith follow Dr. Griffith into the Republican Party. I took a job with this office to carry on the conservative, Democratic policies of Bud Cramer, who like many of his predecessors helped lead North Alabama to periods of remarkable economic development and prosperity. While I will always be proud of the work our staff accomplished with Dr. Griffith, I look forward to bringing the bridge-building and fiscally responsible policies of the Blue Dogs we worked hard to advance to other career opportunities. These are the principles that have traditionally benefited the Tennessee Valley and that I believe will lead our nation back to an era of economic growth and security."

Brian Greer, Senior Legislative Assistant –

Working as a member of the Honorable Congressman Parker Griffith's staff has been an exciting and educational journey. However, my personal and professional values do not permit me to advance the Republican agenda. Although Congressman Griffith’s views have changed, mine have remained aligned with the Democratic Party. I believe we have accomplished a great deal in the 111th Congress. Much work remains to be done, and I plan to continue working for Democrats in a different capacity, specifically focusing on helping Americans, strengthening our economy, and keeping our population safe from threats both foreign and domestic. Thank you to all my friends and colleagues for support during this transition.


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soundoff (297 Responses)
  1. jcbeaver

    Hey Folks, The Bush administration started the bailouts by giving Wall Street $787,000,000,000.00 with no strings attached. The S&P 500 is up 23% under Democratic leadership.-

    January 4, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Murf

    Already been touched on by a few posters, but it's worth emphasizing that often times a person's own values drive their political beliefs and while this is clearly lost on Mr. Griffith at least he was smart enough to hire staff who have integrity and aren't willing to sell their values down the river. Mr. Griffith has cast his lot with the likes of Judas, Himmler, Talleyrand, Pinochet, and the U.S.'s most famous traitor Aldrich Ames. Great company, huh?

    January 4, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. Dex, Houston TX

    Parker Griffith is a lame duck terd now....

    January 4, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. Patrick

    No comparison by any of you blind lefties to Arlen Specter, huh? It's mighty convenient to excoriate Griffith for switching parties and abandoning an alarmingly out-of-touch tax-and-spend Democratic party that has no perception of how the economy works, while finding it perfectly acceptable and even noble (in some of your pathetic views) for a coward like Specter who has never hesitated to put self before country and self before party to switch from right to left. You pathetic hypocrites are the reason this country is in the state that it's in.

    January 4, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Allen B'ham, AL

    Can someone get me a job with his staff? I don't care what party he is with. I have legislative office experience with both parties and the "blue dog" type.

    January 4, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Bob

    I was just thinking about how most scummy liberals are fond of using the term "teabagger" all this time I was unaware that that is a term used by gays and other perverts to describe a deviant sexual act. I guess it should come as no suprise that the average scummy liberal would know this jargon and use it willingly as it seems that most of them are gays or other sexual deviants. Just a thought.

    January 4, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Tom Treadway

    Needs to stick with his decision to go to a respectable party..

    January 4, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Ms. Callahan....just sayin'

    Whatever happen to the notion of 'Stand by Your Man"?

    January 4, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Dan, TX

    The tax and spend republicans have another hero. Bush is their hero now this guy. Republicans don't have principles as far as I can tell, unless looking out for number 1 really is their political philosophy.

    January 4, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Keeping-WarmNorth-East MS

    Parker is no so-called Blue Dog Democrats nor a do nothing Republican/Conservative.
    Mr Griffith's is A LIAR

    January 4, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Mike

    According to Democrats it is absolutely sacriligious to leave the Democratic party and switch over to the Republican but is completely acceptable the other way around. What hypocrites these liberals are.
    I can't think of any group of people I despise in this country more than the Democrats. Lawyers, bankers? They are saints compared to a Democrat. I have an idea, why don't all the Democrats take their Socialistic and self serving ways and go start a new country somewhere else and leave those of us here who cherish the Constitution and what the founding fathers had intended for this country to put the U.S. back where it belongs.

    January 4, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. A Long

    Good riddance!!!! I am so glad that Parker Griffith left the democratic party. He fooled the people once, but he will not be able to fool the people twice in Alabama. I live in Huntsville, AL, and I have been disgusted with Parker Griffith from day one. He ran to the African Americans churches begging for votes and as soon as he was elected, he did a 360 degree turn. He used the democratic party in order to get elected. His days as an elected official is about to come to an end. He barely won in 2009. He will not win in 2010.

    January 4, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. Randy Sexton

    I would just like to let Mr. Griffith know that there are folks out here who applaude his efforts and who are willing to fill the vacancies left by the Libtards who want to be bootlickers for Prez ObeyMe, Nutcy Pelosi and Hairless Reid....

    January 4, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Keeping-Warm

    Parker is no so-called Blue Dog Democrats
    Nor a do nothing Conservative / Republican...
    Mr Griffith's is A LIAR

    North-East MS

    January 4, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. Jim in Miami

    Let them resign – certainly minor news, 'resignation of Dem party hacks' ... stop the presses. The real entertainment is reading the replies of the DNC 'staffers' on here who never fail to demonstrate a total lack of understanding of what caused the recession (liberal-dirven housing and lending policies) and claim Dem interest group politics is the 'right thing for America'. Dems are the permissive parents who then blame everyone else when their kid grows up to be a dependent adult-child. I think they hate Reps because they are the adults in the room.

    January 4, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. GNB

    Good for him! He's one man, one vote. He see's things different, and if he changes his mind, its his choice if he wants to switch. After all, didn't the democrats come into office on the platform of change? Democrats would chastise their own mothers if their mother told them she wanted to change because she didn't want to be aligned with Obama policies. No one was born democrat or republican (except some democrats think they were born that way).

    January 4, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. John D.

    Let's be honest, he doesn't need them as they were just dragging their own party down. It's best that they leave because the Republicans do not need them stabbing them in the back the way liberals always do.

    January 4, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. andy

    I guess his staff was expecting a harry reid payoff for christmas.. Maybe no secret backroom deals for them so they couldn't switch with him.

    January 4, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Steve-Illinois

    This is exactly what's wrong with America today! Flop whichever way the winds blow. It's more important to preserve their jobs, than it is to truly represent the people who elected them! People like him and Spector are poster children for the problems in this country! The "me first, party second, people last" menatlity has to change. I don't care what party you belong too, vote for people that will represent what's best for the country as a whole, only then can we end the disaster that we have created!

    January 4, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. cecilia lewis

    If Republicans advertised for new members – it would read

    Wanted, new members for the Republican Party
    no integrity needed –
    cash back for any Democrat who joins

    January 4, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. House4rent

    It has always been my opinion that if one were elected to office as a member of a specific political party, that one should not be able to 'switch' parties until the next election wherein one would have to run as a candidate under his or her new party. If voters elect a dem or repub or ind, they do so in good faith that that candidate will represent them and their ideals. A party switcher is no longer representing the people who voted for him.

    January 4, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Jeff

    I would expect this to be common among centrists, moving away from the majority party (which is able to govern much farther from center than the centrist might prefer). Much unlike the way it seems to be now, party should be more of a description than an identity. Too often is it the case now (both sides) that party is chosen first, and the party dictates decisions.

    January 4, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. algriffin521

    well a good employment opportunity for tjose looking for work.

    these are easy jobs with gobs of benefots and lots of time off.

    January 4, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. bruce

    maybe he finally realized that the democrats are going fool spending money and making unconstituinal deals. i rather be a republican and believe that less goverment is good and less taxes. now we have a democratic congress with the lowest rating of all time spending like they are crazy. spending our childrens future. rather be a republican anyday than a tax tax tax tax tax tax tax democrat

    January 4, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. Andres Bustamante

    Parker Griffith is an embarrassment to Democracy. He should be forced to relinquish his office and run, once again, as a Republican.

    He is a flip flopper cheap sandal wearing turncoat pony up puppet of the Republican Party.

    January 4, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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