The Saddest Comeback

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 13 2012 11:05 AM

The Saddest Comeback

In 2008, Parker Griffith narrowly won a seat in Congress -- Alabama's 5th district, the northern part of the state that includes Huntsville. He was a Democrat, as was every member who represented the area since 1868. Eleven months later, he switched to the Republican Party, explaining that he needed to oppose health care reform "as a doctor."

There are pols who can switch parties with credibility, claiming that their views have been left in the dirt by the extremists who took over. Griffith, who'd begged and received a check from Nancy Pelosi herself, wasn't credible. Six months after the party switch, he was defeated in a Republican primary by Mo Brooks, now congressman from the 5th. And he was done.

Griffith said Thursday he will file papers Friday to run in the March 13 Republican primary against Brooks for the nomination as 5th Congressional District representative.
"When I changed parties, I hurt a lot of feelings," Griffith said Thursday. "I've had to go back and explain this is about jobs, about maintaining our community and making it a better place.. We'll contrast my time in Congress with my opponent's time in Congress. The distinction is clear."  

The Democratic source who passed this on to me included a laugh-so-you-don't-cry kind of joke: "I would love to see a new PPP survey: Who is polling higher in South Carolina? Stephen Colbert, Jon Huntsman or Parker Griffith."

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


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