This from the Politico:
POLITICO has learned that Rep. Parker Griffith, a freshman Democrat from Alabama, will announce today that he’s switching parties to become a Republican. . . .
Griffith’s party switch comes on the eve of a pivotal congressional health care vote and will send a jolt through a Democratic House Caucus that has already been unnerved by the recent retirements of a handful of members who, like Griffith, hail from districts that offer prime pickup opportunities for the GOP in 2010.
The switch represents a coup for the House Republican leadership, which had been courting Griffith since he publicly criticized the Democratic leadership in the wake of raucous town halls during the summer.
Griffith, who captured the seat in a close 2008 open seat contest, will become the first Republican to hold the historically Democratic, Huntsville-based district. A radiation oncologist who founded a cancer treatment center, Griffith plans to blast the Democratic health care bill as a prime reason for his decision to switch parties—and is expected to cite his medical background as his authority on the subject.
While the timing of his announcement was unexpected, Griffith’s party switch will not come as a surprise to those familiar with his voting record, which is one of the most conservative among Democrats.
He has bucked the Democratic leadership on nearly all of its major domestic initiatives, including the stimulus package, health care legislation, the cap-and trade energy bill and financial regulatory reform.
He was one of only 11 House Democrats to vote against the stimulus. . . .
This appears to be a move motivated more by ideology than concern for reelection, though the latter no doubt played some role. And obviously this Congressman has some strongly held beliefs that put him squarely on the conservative side of Republicans. His move to the Republican party is good news indeed. And as a bonus, it was heartening to hear this, also from Politico:
Griffith now has $619,000 in the bank to run as a Republican, a total boosted by contributions from several of the Democratic Party’s more liberal leaders. The political action committee of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer donated $10,000 to Griffith’s reelection this year, and even Pelosi chipped in $4,000 — prior to Griffith's August remarks
Heh. Welcome to your new home, Sir.