Party Switcher

House's Lost Dem Signals Backlash?

Alabama Representative and ex-Democrat Parker Griffith’s switch to the GOP won’t affect the power balance in the House, but it highlights the growing unease among Democrats looking to the 2010 midterm elections, particularly with the Democratic Caucus' deeply left-leaning current leadership. Although Griffith blindsided the Democrats—he had even attended Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s holiday party—they remained silent on his departure, merely asking for campaign donations to be returned. But privately, Democrats said it was a blow, coming at a difficult time as they try to pass an ambitious health-care agenda, and only a few years after the party made significant inroads in relatively conservative districts in red states. On top of that, several Democrats have announced their retirement, including some veteran Southerners, amid unfavorable polling data. “There’s a real backlash in the conservative districts against Washington and the president,” a senior Democratic operative told Politico. “In any right-leaning district… you’re going to see the incumbent looking at numbers they’ve never seen before.”