First term Democratic congressman Parker Griffith of Alabama has said he will join the GOP effective immediately in a possible bid to increase his reelection chances in 2010.
The 67-year-old was narrowly elected last year and has boasted some of the most conservative voting records of any House Democrat, including his opposition to President Obama’s economic stimulus package.
"I have become increasingly concerned that the bills and policies pushed by the current Democratic leadership are not good for north Alabama or our nation," Griffith said during a press conference in Huntsville earlier today.
"More importantly, they do not represent my values and my convictions," he added.
Executive director of the Alabama Democratic Party Jim Spearman told the Associated Press that he was not surprised by the switch but vowed to "[work] strongly to put a Democrat in there" during the midterm elections.
In recent years, many prominent politicians switched party affiliations, including Arlen Specter, a senator from Pennsylvania, who became a Democrat in 2009 after five terms with the GOP. In 2002, just days before filing for the mayoral race in New Orleans, Ray Nagin switched from Republican to Democrat.
With Griffith’s switch, Democrats will hold 257 House seats and the GOP will have 178.