An omnibus of the latest and greatest Parker Griffith news:
- Things got off to a rocky start for freshly-minted turncoat GOP Rep. Parker Griffith when his hometown paper, the Huntsville Times, eviscerated Griffith’s defection as a move made out of self-preservation that will end up hurting his district, which is heavily dependent on government funding for various aerospace and missile defense projects.
- The Times was of course correct in their assessment that Griff’s split would hurt his district — Nancy Pelosi just stripped him of his committee assignments.
- Griffith’s move has also cost him at least some of his staff and political associates: his press secretary called it quits, and all of his DC consultants have severed their ties with him.
- Griffith was also forced to respond to the news that his campaign downloaded voter data from the Alabama Democratic Party just hours before his switch was made official. Griffith has said that they will delete that data. Also, in the run-up to his switch, Griffith conducted internal polling on the general election — but won’t disclose what the results were.
- Republicans must be thrilled to welcome such a staunchly conservative Democrat into their ranks, right? Well, no. Not only are the local teabaggers unsupportive of Griffith, it appears that Republicans higher up the food chain are joining the purity chase, too. State Treasurer Kay Ivey, who is currently running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, slammed Griff for defecting merely as a “ploy” for self-preservation, and that his enrollment in the Republican ranks is an “insult to every grassroots activist who commits untold hours in devotion to getting candidates elected”. (The irony, of course, is that Ivey herself used to be a Dem.) Was this the warm embrace that you were counting on, Griff? Perhaps calling yourself a “lifelong Democrat” and, in previous campaigns, running on a platform of giving “health care for all of the citizens” isn’t the type of background that the Republican base can accept under any circumstances these days — no matter how much you try to apologize for it.
- And speaking of Republicans who want a piece of Griffith’s hide, here’s a familiar name who may be itching to step up: insurance executive Wayne Parker, who gave Griffith a close shave in 2008, is saying that he’s seriously considering an entry into the Republican primary.
- So who will run for the Democrats? There are a few options — after all, this district has a pretty healthy Democratic bench. For one, there’s Susan Parker, a member of the state’s Public Service Commission and former State Auditor. Parker was actually interested in the race back in 2008, but demurred after Griffith jumped in. (It was a shame to me at the time, and an overwhelming shame now.) The problem is that Parker is up for re-election to the PSC next year — so she would have to choose between a relatively easy re-election campaign and a hard-fought congressional scrap.
The other choice is a name that any self-respecting SSP fan is thoroughly familiar with: state Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks, who is currently waging an underdog campaign for Governor against Artur Davis. The DCCC called Sparks, and by the sound of it, he seems pretty interested in the campaign. When a candidate doesn’t swat down rumors that he’s considering race-switching with haste, that’s usually a pretty good sign that they’re giving the matter more than just serious thought.
RaceTracker Wiki: AL-05