View Full Version : Griffith scrambles to save GOP bid

05-28-2010, 12:56 PM
Six months after switching to the GOP, Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith is scrambling to ward off a primary challenge that threatens to upend his young political career.

With the primary just one week away, Griffith on Monday contributed $75,000 to his campaign — bringing his self-funding total to $255,000. The same day, he launched his second TV ad attacking his lead Republican challenger, Mo Brooks — a grainy, black-and-white spot depicting the opponent as a “career politician.”

Griffith, who already has spent a whopping $2.7 million this cycle to fend off his opponents, has kept up a hurried fundraising pace in Washington. In the final weeks before the primary, he’s been the beneficiary of fundraisers headlined by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and National Republican Congressional Committee Vice Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

Griffith’s campaign to retain the seat he won in 2008 as a Democrat underscores the perils of switching parties in what is emerging as an anti-incumbent election cycle — a lesson Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, a former Republican, learned all too well in his loss to Rep. Joe Sestak in the Democratic primary earlier this month.

On Tuesday, Griffith will come before voters for the first time since switching parties in December. The Alabama Republican is facing off against Brooks, a Madison County commissioner, and businessman Les Phillip. If no contender wins half the vote, the two who win the most votes will meet in a July runoff.

“I believe Griffith is in trouble,” said Jack Campbell, a Republican strategist in Alabama. “He’s just not catching on in the Republican ranks at all. People find him dishonest. They just don’t trust him. They may not like Mo Brooks, but they don’t trust Parker Griffith.”

“He’s got a very difficult primary. It’s probably 6-to-5 he loses. ... It’s a big hill for him to climb,” said Alabama-based GOP strategist Jonathan Gray. “Regardless of what the leadership says, it’s the local people saying, ‘Wasn’t Parker Griffith saying all those nasty things about [2008 GOP opponent] Wayne Parker being too conservative?’”

Brooks, a former Madison County district attorney who waged a failed 2006 campaign for lieutenant governor, has seized on Griffith’s party switch as a way to question his honesty. The challenger’s two TV ads have repeated the refrain, “Mo Brooks will be a congressman we can trust.”

“The people of the Tennessee Valley deserve a congressman we can trust, and have faith in, to do the right thing,” Brooks said in an interview. “First and foremost, we expect a congressman who will lead faithfully, with honor and with trust — and right now, we’re not getting that.”

Brent Buchanan, a Montgomery, Ala.-based GOP strategist, said Brooks has tapped into perceived doubts about Griffith, who ran a tough campaign against Republican Wayne Parker to win a conservative Huntsville, Ala.-based seat.

“The problem for Parker is that people don’t feel he’s a different person than he was when he was a Democrat,” Buchanan said. “There wasn’t enough time for the base to like Parker Griffith before the election came up.”

CONTINUED (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37839_Page2.html)

05-28-2010, 12:57 PM
People who change party for political expediency without a defining moment are not going to be trusted by anyone. Specturd proves that fact.