Watch CBSN Live

Parker Griffith Says He Doesn't Regret Switiching Parties

US Representative of Alabama Parker Griffith 2009/5/4. AP

Voters have once again shown that, while it may have worked in the past, switching parties won't win candidates many votes this election season.

Earlier this week, Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.) became the second candidate to lose a primary election after having switching parties. Griffith, who won the seat as Democrat in 2008, became a Republican last December.

But this year, even though Griffith voted against President Obama's health care bill and economic stimulus plan, Republican voters opted for the more traditionally conservative candidate Mo Brooks, backed by the Tea Party, handing Griffith a 55-31 loss.

Yet despite the decisive defeat, Griffith said that he did not regret the decision to change political parties.

"I do not regret changing parties," Griffith said in a news conference, as reported by CBS Affiliate WHNT in Huntsville, Ala. "I think it may have been, politically, a mistake, but on principle, it was the right thing to do."

He added, "Getting in the arena and exchanging ideas with your constituents and your opponents is what America's all about. I was rejected by the constituents, they did not accept me, and I appreciate that, because that's how America is supposed to work."

Just two weeks ago, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) was defeated in the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primaries by Rep. Joe Sestak in similar fashion.

Specter, a former Republican and 30-year veteran of the Senate, was welcomed by the White House and the rest of the Democratic establishment after he switched parties in early 2009. The switch gave Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and many Democrats put their full weight behind Specter's campaign.

But Democratic primary voters were not convinced and picked Sestak with a 53-47 spread.

A huge blow to Specter's campaign came in the form of an ad taken out by Sestak criticizing his swap. The ad shows a picture of Specter shaking hands with former President Bush with a voice-over that said: "Arlen Specter switched parties to save one job: his, not yours."

Brooks will now go on to face Democratic candidate Steve Raby in November's general election, while Sestak will face former Republican Rep. Pat Toomey.

Watch Parker Griffith's press conference below:


View CBS News In