Conservative Backlash Against Griffith Party Switch Begins

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If Rep. Parker Griffith (soon-to-be R-AL) thought the Republican base would welcome him with open arms, he may be getting a wake up call as news of his party switch spreads across the internet.

Two prominent names in the conservative movement — Erick Erickson at RedState and The Club For Growth — have promised Griffith will have a tough time convincing Republicans to vote for him, despite the fact that he’s now one of their own. Griffith, a self-professed Blue Dog Democrat, has been far to the right of House Democrats this year, even promising to vote against another term as Speaker for Nancy Pelosi.

But those stances aren’t enough for Erickson and the Club, both of which say the GOP primary will be a tough one for the Democrat-turned-Republican.From Erickson’s post:

Being a Republican should be about more than just the letter next to a person’s name. We can improve that seat.

Here are Griffith’s earmark requests. He voted for Pelosi for Speaker. He’s actually been more regularly with Pelosi than Jim Marshall (D-GA). We can pick this guy off and get a real Republican in that seat.

Again, changing the letter next to your name does not magically make you one of us.

At the Club For Growth’s website, Andrew Roth breaks down the conservative group’s take on the Griffith switch. Though, like Erickson, the conservative group sees the switch as bad news for President Obama, the Club says Griffith doesn’t make the conservative grade:

Alabama is a run-off state, so Griffith will have to go head-to-head against a seasoned Republican if he wants to stay in office (assuming he doesn’t get 50% of the vote right off the bat).

Griffith’s voting record is far from conservative, too. Granted, he voted against the Big 4 – Obama’s first budget, the Stimulus, Cap and Trade, and ObamaCare. However, his vote on the budget is slightly deceptive since he originally voted for 9 of the 12 spending bills that make up the budget. And he voted against all the Stimulus amendments that would reduce its size.

But just a quick perusal of 2009 shows that he voted YES on the 2009 pork-filled Omnibus; YES on Cash for Clunkers, NO on waiving the harmful Davis-Bacon provision, and had a pathetic 0% score on the 2009 RePORK Card.

This party switch signals Griffith’s nervousness, but it doesn’t signal that his incumbency is safe.

As the club points out, Griffith already faces a two-man field on the Republican side of the race. But, Griffith is far ahead of them in the money race. But as has been seen in the Florida Senate race, support from groups like the Club and people like Erickson can mean a large cash advantage (like the one Gov. Charlie Crist still has over Marco Rubio in Florida) don’t translate into a quiet primary.

The Club’s report on the current finances of Griffith’s GOP opponents:

Republican candidate Mo Brooks has $113,000 cash on hand and Les Phillip has $31,000. Griffith is sitting on $618,000.

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