Freshman Rep. Parker Griffith (D-AL) plans to announce today that he will switch parties to become a Republican. According to Politico, Griffith’s defection “will send a jolt through a Democratic House Caucus that has already been unnerved by the recent retirements of a handful of members.” But considering that he has voted with Republicans on basically all of the Democrats’ major agenda items, Griffith’s move will likely have a limited effect on legislative outcomes:
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.
Additionally, Griffith declared in August that he would not vote for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to hold that position again. “If she doesn’t like it, I’ve got a gift certificate to the mental health center,” said Griffith at a town hall meeting.