HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -A one-time Democrat turned Republican turned Independent now appears to be plotting a run for governor…as a Democrat.
Multipe sources tell WHNT News 19 that former Congressman Parker Griffith is on the verge of announcing his candidacy for governor of Alabama, and as a member of the party he famously abandoned just four years ago. WHNT News 19 has confirmed that the Alabama Democratic Party recently voted to reinstate Griffith, clearing the way for a gubernatorial run that we’re told will likely be announced before Friday’s qualifying deadline.
Dr. Parker Griffith has run as a member of the Republican and Democratic parties in Alabama, serving in the Alabama Senate and also in the U.S. Congress from 2009-2011. Griffith was elected to Congress as a Democrat, but switched over to the Republican party halfway through his first term in office in 2010. Current Congressman Mo Brooks soundly defeated Griffith in the GOP primaries of 2010 and 2012, with Griffith eventually deciding to quit the GOP last year.
Griffith also said in an interview with WHNT News 19 last fall he was finished with both parties.
He’s also run for mayor of Huntsville.
Local Democratic sources said Griffith met with state Democratic party leaders in Montgomery this past weekend to discuss his candidacy. Griffith did not respond to our messages, and has yet to file any formal paperwork.
Madison County Democratic Party Chair Clete Wetli said Griffith has been welcomed back.
“If he’s going to support the party platform then he’s a Democrat as far as I’m concerned,” said Wetli. “He’s got some damage control to do. He’s going to have to reach out and talk to people and explain why he’s the best candidate for the job.”
Griffith appears on the website AlabamaStrong.com, which states its mission is ‘One Voice United for all Alabamians.’ The website states Alabama Strong is a grass-roots movement that brings together the resilient people of Alabama.
“Alabama Strong is an effort to be another voice, in Alabama and nationally, of what we can do as an optimistic people,” Griffith says in a video on the website.
“Not only is Alabama strong, but America is strong. We are the strongest country in the world… All of that craziness that we’ve heard for the last two or three years – we’re going to ignore that. We’re going to tell the real story of Alabama being strong and America being strong. Optimism is contagious.”
The website doesn’t state Griffith’s role with Alabama Strong, nor does it say if he is seeking a particular office.
WHNT News 19 contacted Bronwen Murray, who interviews Griffith in the video. Murray said Griffith is contemplating an announcement later in the week.
The website states Alabama Strong seeks to focus on tough issues including education reform, healthcare reform, immigration reform and prison reform.
Qualifying Deadline Nears
This Friday, February 7, is the last day for candidates to qualify with the parties for local and state office in Alabama.
One other Democrat has declared he will run for governor, Kevin Bass. Bass, a businessman, lives in Fayette and is a former minor league baseball player.
Two candidates have qualified to run as Republicans – Robert Bentley, the incumbent, and Stacey Lee George, a former Morgan County Commissioner.
The Alabama primaries are June 3.