Blue Dog Rep. Griffith Switches Parties
Alabama Rep. will become a Republican
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2009 11:12 AM CST
Parker Griffith, seen as a Rep-elect in this Nov. 21, 2008, file photo, is switching parties.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – After less than a year in the House, Blue Dog Democrat Parker Griffith is hopping across the aisle to join the GOP. The Alabama congressman will make the announcement this afternoon, an Alabama Republican Party source tells the Hill. He will cite health care legislation as his main reason, says Politico. Griffith’s district is very conservative, but a Democrat has held the seat for some time, and no strong Republican challenger had emerged.

Griffith has voted against nearly every item on the Democratic agenda in his brief time in the legislature, and once said Nancy Pelosi was too “divisive and polarizing” to be House speaker. “If she doesn’t like it, I’ve got a gift certificate to the mental health center,” he said. But Griffith, an oncologist, will be putting aside an acrimonious election battle, in which Republicans accused him of “warehousing” cancer patients and “under-dosing” them to boost profits.