Nearly every staff member of Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Parker Griffith's office quit Monday morning in response to his decision to switch parties. His chief of staff resigned, along with his entire legislative and communications team -- many of whom have worked for Griffith since before he arrived in Washington.
"Alabama's Fifth District has deserved and has benefited from great Democratic conservative leadership since Reconstruction. And until now they had it," Chief of Staff Sharon Wheeler said. "I appreciate Congressman Griffith's being a very dedicated congressman. But we believe he made a mistake -- a well-intentioned but misguided mistake that is not in the interest of the great people of North Alabama who elected him a year ago as a Democrat. As his staff, we wish him only the best, and we all remain committed to the citizens of the Tennessee Valley. But we cannot, in good conscience, continue working for him. It is with deep sadness that we leave our work for the Fifth District. But because we are unwavering in our own principles, we have no choice but to move on. We do not know what the future holds, but we are taking a leap of faith with the belief we will soon find ourselves in the employment of principled public officials."
Joining Wheeler were Legislative Director Megan Swearingen, Legislative Assistants Brian Greer and Will Crain, Press Secretary Sean Magers, Legislative Correspondents Arinze Ifekauche and Chase Chesser, Staff Assistant Mary Lou Hughston, Congressional Fellows Dr. Anjali Shah Kastorf and Leslee Oden and intern Andrew Menefee. They waited until the winter break was over so they could return to Washington to resign. Griffith's campaign consulting team dropped him when he announced his party switch.