From Fox News (seriously!):
Rep. Parker Griffith, the Alabama Republican who recently crossed over from the Democratic Party, is facing a mini-revolt from some home-state GOP officials who question his loyalty to his newly adopted party.
The local Republican operations for two counties inside Griffith’s 5th District passed a set of resolutions in the past week urging Republicans to elect anyone but Griffith in the state’s June primary.
The Limestone County Republican Party passed a set of measures Thursday night, one of which called on Griffith to turn over all campaign money he raised as a Democrat and not use any of it in his race for re-election — Griffith’s third-quarter fundraising report showed he had $619,000 on hand. The county party also recommended that Republicans support one of the other two GOP candidates in the race.
The Madison County Republican Party on Monday passed a measure recommending the same thing, as well as urging the congressional delegation and national party not to get involved in the primary.
So how do you like being a Rethuglican now?
“His ideology has not changed,” said Jim Burden, chairman of the Limestone County GOP. “He supported Nancy Pelosi. He contributed money to her. He supported Howard Dean.”
Some Republicans in this northern Alabama district simply can’t abide such actions, even though national party figures embraced Griffith when he crossed the aisle a month ago. But Griffith dismisses the Republican angst as the natural byproduct of a contested primary race.
The tension puts Griffith in the middle of accusations of party disloyalty from both sides of the aisle.
After Griffith signed a pledge to repeal a health care reform bill, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pulled up a local article from 2006 that said he supported universal health care.
“North Alabama families are quickly learning not to trust anything Parker Griffith says,” the DCCC said in a statement.
But Griffith on Thursday denied he was a political opportunist. He said he switched parties because the Democratic Party leadership was taking the country “so far to the left that it’s on the verge of a cliff.”
The other GOP candidates running for Griffith’s seat are Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks and businessman and Navy veteran Les Phillip.
Madison County GOP Chairman John Noel, who voted against the anti-Griffith resolution Monday, said he’s not hearing “much concern” about Griffith from local Republicans, despite the actions of the county parties.
Alabama state GOP spokesman Philip Bryan said the state party is not concerned about Griffith’s party loyalty.
“We don’t have any concerns on Congressman Griffith’s sincerity about his allegiance to the party,” Bryan said. But he said the state will not meddle in the primary.
From CQ POLITICS:
Party switching Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.) on Wednesday took a swipe at his old handlers at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when asked if he was worried about their targeting him for defeat this fall.
“I think the DCCC is not concerned as much with my general election at this particular time as they are with Massachusetts. … I saw some results … in a Massachusetts Senate race that possibly has gotten their attention,” Griffith said referring to Republican state Sen. Scott Brown’s come from behind victory in the special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D).
Griffith added that he believes the DCCC will be too busy defending its own seats and playing in more competitive districts to worry about his district where the committee spent over $1 million in independent expenditures working to get Griffith elected in 2008.
The DCCC has targeted Griffith in nearly a dozen press releases since his party switch.
Among the 5th district candidates that have been floated by Capitol Hill Democrats in the month since Griffith switched parties are former district court judge Deborah Passeur, political consultant and former Congressional aide Steve Raby, Madison County licenses director Mark Craig, and businessman and former Huntsville School Board member David Blair.
CQ Politics presently rates the Alabama 5 contest as Likely Republican.
From CQ POLITICS:
After surviving a brutal open-seat campaign in 2008, Griffith appeared to have at least a slight edge to keep Alabama’s 5th District in the Democratic column in the 2010 election. That is, until Dec. 22, when news broke of the conservative Democratic incumbent’s stunning decision to switch to the Republican Party.
The move, at first blush, gives the GOP a strong opportunity to establish a hold on a traditional conservative Southern Democratic stronghold – one that has yet to elect a Republican to the House – that nonetheless gave 61 percent of its 2008 presidential vote to Republican John McCain.
Griffith’s party switch, although abrupt, is not totally out of character with his actions since he came to Congress in January 2009. A month later, he was one of just 11 House Democrats who voted against the economic stimulus legislation backed by President Barack Obama, and has voted against many subsequent legislative priorities of the Democratic leadership. Even before his jump, he declared he would not vote to re-elect California’s Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker.
His former party is outraged that he split after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) laid out $1 million to get him elected over Republican Wayne Parker in 2008.
And the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the House GOP’s campaign arm, is welcoming a converted incumbent whom it spent about a half-million trying to defeat in the 2008 campaign – which included accusations that Griffith, a former oncologist, had provided poor treatment that contributed to the deaths of cancer patients under his care during the 1980s. The NRCC had been targeting Griffith for defeat in 2010 and had to take down anti-Griffith statements from its Web site before acknowledging his party switch.
The Democrats surely will try to contest this seat and punish Griffith for abandoning them. But his decision to wait until just before year’s end to move his move means the Democrats have their work cut out for them recruiting a strong and well-funded candidate by the state’s April 2 filing deadline.