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.

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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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