State Democrats extremely disappointed in Griffith, feel betrayed
"Our folks are motivated to right this wrong." Joe Turnham, chairman of the
Alabama Democratic Party
Joe Turnham, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, said he is extremely disappointed that freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith is switching parties and said he has talked to several leaders in north Alabama who want to ensure their is a quality Democratic candidate in 2010.
Griffith, less than a year into his first term in Congress, is expected to announce at 1 p.m. that he is switching parties to become a Republican.
Turnham said he has already received calls from several key leaders in the Tennessee Valley who have expressed their commitment to support a strong Democratic candidate who can win the District 5 seat.
"Parker has been a friend for a number of years, but his announcement today, and the way in which he did it, deeply disappoints me," Turnham said. "Democrats of every stripe and philosophy sweated and bled for this man. He narrowly became a congressman through the hard work, votes and financial contributions of thousands of Democrats. Today, they feel betrayed."
State and national Democrats worked hard to help elect Griffith just over a year ago. He was the heir to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, another conservative Democrat from north Alabama.
The chairman asked Griffith to return the thousands of dollars that Democrats helped him raise.
Turnham said the Democrats have a "deep political bench in the 5th District and we will nominate a formidable challenger to fill this seat next year."
"If Congressman Griffith survives a Republican primary battle next year, he should be prepared to bring his lunch if he hopes to hold this seat in November of 2010. Our folks are motivated to right this wrong."
In its release, the Alabama Democratic Party said Griffith has left his old friends "and will ultimately find that he has no political friends left at all at the end of the day."
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen