Party Switcher Parker Griffith’s Staff Quits in Disgust
January 4, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Rep. Parker Griffith, a freshman Democratic congressman from Alabama apparently decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the aisle. Last month he announced his decision to switch alliances and join the Republican Party. After winning a close race last year in the traditionally Democratic Huntsville-based district, Parker stuck his finger up to gage the prevailing winds and discovered his district was trending Republican and that he faced a tough race. And he made a political calculation to switch parties to have a better chance of becoming reelected in the 2010 elections. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants its money back, as well as proprietary voter data files and Griffith’s campaign consulting team dropped him after his Party switch.
Now, on Monday nearly his entire capitol Hill staff quit, citing Griffith’s “misguided mistake” to switch parties after in office for only one year.
His staff waited until after the holiday break to deliver their resignations in person. The turncoat lawmaker’s Chief of Staff Sharon Wheeler quit, as well as his entire legislative and communications team. Many of the aides offering their resignations on Monday have worked for Griffith before he arrived in Washington.
“Alabama’s Fifth District has deserved and has benefited from great Democratic conservative leadership since Reconstruction. And until now they had it,” said Wheeler. “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.”
Along with Wheeler, Legislative Director Megan Swearingen, Legislative Assistants Brian Greer and Will Crain, Press Secretary Sean Magers, Legislative Correspondents Arinze Ifekauche and Chase Chesser, Staff Assistant Mary Lou Hughston, Congressional Fellows Dr. Anjali Shah Kastorf and Leslee Oden, and intern Andrew Menefee also quit.
Griffith may not have such an easy time of it running in his district as a Republican, despite the increasing Republican trending. Although, he was one of the most conservative members of the Democratic caucus, derided as a DINO, after he switched sides, he may not be conservative enough for the current Republican Party that is becoming saturated with right-wing tea party ideology.
Already teapartiers are making noises that Griffith is not right-wing enough for their Republican purity tests. Griffith may very well find himself in the same dilemma as Republican Dede Scozzafava in the recent special election in the NY-23rd congressional district, who got teabagged and was forced to resign from the race.
Source: Huffington Post