Freshman Democrat from Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith is changing sides and joining the Grand Old Party, Politico is reporting.
Griffith is expected to announce the switch this afternoon in his home county in Alabama, and while the timing is surprising, the move itself is not. Griffith has been “courted” by Republicans since this summer, when he publicly disagreed with Democrats after rowdy town hall meetings. Griffith has rolled against Democrats in all the major domestic initiatives of the Obama administration, including cap and trade, the stimulus package, financial regulatory reform and most significantly, the health care reform debate. (Griffith is also expected to cite his background in medicine in denouncing reform efforts in the switch.)
Griffith won with a thin margin in the last election, capturing just 51% of the vote in a district that gave McCain 61% in the 2008 elections. The Democrats will still hold 257 seats in the House to the Republicans’ 178. The last member of Congress to switch teams in office was Arlen Specter (D-PA).