Healthcare’s First Electoral Casualty
Most pundits are currently predicting Republicans to pick up seats in both the House and the Senate in 2010 as the anti-GOP tide has turned in the face of unpopular policies pushed by the president and Democratic leaders. As with most political changes, it isn’t so much the minority party giving you a reason to vote them in but the majority party giving you a reason to vote them out.
The Democrats had a lot of success over the past two election cycles and recruiting moderate and conservative Democrats who could win in red districts (see MS-01 for example). They essentially have a majority thanks to those Democrats yet leadership that is far to the left asking members to make difficult votes, such as the health care legislation.
Besides Childers, another conservative Dem to win in 2008 was Parker Griffith who represents a conservative Huntsville based district. He has been one of the few Democrats to oppose every major initiative put forth by the leadership. Today, he is set to announce he will join the Republican Party.
Griffith is a radiation oncologist and has been a vocal opponent of the pending healthcare legislation. He cites that bill as prime reason for his switch.
Despite his conservative voting record, Griffith continued to get pounded at home, was heckled at town hall meetings, and went so far as to say he would not vote for Nancy Pelosi again and that she was divisive as a leader.
I noted Griffith’s opposition to Pelosi here where I questioned whether Childers would do the same.
On a smaller scale, a five-term Democrat who serves as Neshoba County’s chancery clerk recently announced his switch to the GOP where he said he was angered with the Democrat’s healthcare legislation. Larry McMillan becomes the ninth Democrat to change parties in Mississippi over the past month.