HOW’S THAT PARTY SWITCH WORKING OUT?…. Soon after Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama switched to become a Republican, his campaign team dropped him as a client.
Today, his legislative staff followed suit, resigning en masse.
In a sternly worded statement, Griffith Chief of Staff Sharon Wheeler announced the exit of herself, along with legislative director Megan Swearingen, senior legislative assistant Brian Greer, legislative assistant Will Crain, press secretary Sean Magers, legislative correspondent Arinze Ifekauche, legislative correspondent Chase Chesser, staff assistant Mary Lou Hughston, congressional fellows Anjali Shah Kastorf and Leslee Oden and intern Andrew Menefee. […]
“Alabama’s 5th district has deserved and has benefited from great Democratic conservative leadership since Reconstruction. And until now they had it,” Wheeler said.
“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 hasn’t quite been two weeks since Griffith joined the GOP, but by any reasonable measure, the transition hasn’t exactly been a smooth one. He’s lost his staff, his campaign team, several campaign contributions from those who feel betrayed by his switch, and his ability to influence legislation in advance of the election. On the other side of the aisle, Griffith still has a phalanx of right-wing primary challengers; he hasn’t received an official endorsement from the NRCC; and far-right activists in his district are just as anxious to defeat him now as they were when he was a Democrat.
I suspect Griffith expected this to be easier.
On a related note, Ed Kilgore had a great item the other day, noting that Griffith’s explanation for his party switch doesn’t really make sense. Why run in 2008 to join Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi in D.C., and then decide he doesn’t agree with Democrats in 2009?
“[H]is protestations that he had to change parties because of some shocking new ideological development in the Democratic Party is total, absolute, conscious b.s.,” Kilgore explained. “Griffith’s not some crusty old long-time incumbent whose party changed without him; he was first elected in 2008, when Barack Obama was running on a platform promising climate change and health care reform legislation, and going along with George W. Bush’s decision to rescue the financial industry. Nancy Pelosi, whom Griffith is now attacking, wasn’t any less liberal then that she is today. Sure, he needs to play catch-up with his new party-mates in shrieking about socialism and the destruction of the U.S. Constitution, but nobody should be under any illusion that anything has changed since 2008 other than Parker Griffith’s assessment of his re-election prospects.”