Party switcher Griffith's staff resigns

Alabama congressman who recently became a Republican gets hit with a mass defection

By Alex Koppelman
Published January 4, 2010 2:10PM (EST)

Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith is crossing the aisle and becoming a Republican. His staff -- or at least the bulk of it -- won't be following along.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee just blasted out a release announcing that "nearly every" one of Griffith's staffers tendered their resignation Monday morning. According to the DCCC, Griffith's chief of staff was one of those who quit, "along with the entire legislative and communications team."

In a quote included with the release, Sharon Wheeler, Griffith's chief of staff, said, "Alabama's Fifth District has deserved and has benefited from great Democratic conservative leadership since Reconstruction. And until now they had it. But Parker Griffith has abandoned the legacy of conservative leadership provided by Bud Cramer, Ronnie Flippo, Bob Jones, Howell Heflin, Jim Allen, Lister Hill, John Sparkman, Big Jim Folsom, and so many more.”

This isn't the first defection from Griffith's camp; his campaign consultants cut ties shortly after the announcement of the congressman's decision to switch parties. And though the DCCC is trumpeting this, it's not exactly a huge surprise. It's one thing when someone like Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., switches parties; he's had staffers who've been with him for years, and at least some of them are more loyal to Specter than to any given party. But Griffith's a freshman.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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