Parker Griffith ran as a centrist Democrat two years ago, was personally recruited by now White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, spent about $1.8 million on his race, winning by two points in 2008 in a district that John McCain carried by 25 points. As we know, Griffith decided to switch parties last week, citing the Democratic Party's loose-spending ways.
No one seemed to appreciate Parker's selflessness. He has few friends in the state Republican establishment. Then news emerged that he had contributed to (gasp) Howard Dean in 2006 and even worse -- the majority leader, Harry Reid's PAC. Griffith entered a primary already crowded with credible Republican candidates. One is Mo Brooks, a local county commissioner. Another is Les Phillip, a former Navy pilot and now a small businessman from Huntsville. Both have raised about $100K -- enough to keep things interesting. Phillip's campaign is welcoming Griffith to their race by attempting to expose Griffith's true ideological center -- assuming he has one. Here's a direct-mail piece that Phillip's campaign just put in the mail. "You can tell a lot about Parker Griffith by Who His Friends Are," the tag line reads. Pictures of Howard Dean (in his "scream" pose), as well as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi join a screengrab of the Federal Election Commission record showing Griffith's political donations. Philip is presented as the "true conservative."