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Alabama Democrat Rejects Bid Against Rep. Griffith

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks said Tuesday that he is continuing his 2010 Democratic campaign for governor and declining entreaties from some party officials to challenge party-switching GOP Rep. Parker Griffith in the 5th district.Sparks held several news conferences Tuesday to announce his decision and also told the Associated Press, “I made a commitment to the people of Alabama when I decided to run for governor.” Sparks is vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Bob Riley.Sparks said Dec. 23 that he was “considering all options” after receiving a telephone call about the Alabama 5th district race from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.One potential Democratic candidate is Susan Parker, an elected member of the Alabama Public Service Commission. Parker announced Dec. 17, five days before Griffith switched parties, that she would seek re-election to her current position. A losing candidate for Senator in 2002, Parker considered but declined a bid for the Alabama 5th district seat in 2008, when then-Rep. Bud Cramer (D) declined to seek re-election and Griffith was elected.Griffith faces opposition in the Republican primary from county commissioner Mo Brooks and businessman Les Phillip, who have been running for months in a conservative-leaning district that includes Huntsville and other territory in northern Alabama.

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