Staffers Abandon Griffith After Party Switch

Posted January 4, 2010 at 9:09am

Senior staffers for Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.) are bolting his office in the wake of his party switch two weeks ago. The exodus includes his chief of staff and what appears to be the bulk of his Washington, D.C., team.Chief of Staff Sharon Wheeler in a statement said her former boss had “abandoned the legacy of conservative leadership— provided by the line of Democrats who held the seat since Reconstruction. “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,— she said.Former Press Secretary Sean Magers — who quit on Dec. 23, a day after Griffith announced his switch — said in a statement that the staffers were submitting their resignations on Monday.Beyond Wheeler and Magers, they include Chase Chesser, legislative correspondent; Will Crane, legislative assistant; Brian Greer, senior legislative assistant; Mary Lou Hughston, staff assistant; Arinze Ifekauche, legislative correspondent; Anjali Shah Kastorf, Congressional fellow; Andrew Menefee, intern; Leslee Oden, Congressional fellow; and Megan Swearingen, legislative director.The departures follow the exit of Griffith’s political consultants last month.Less clear is what will happen to others listed on Griffith’s payroll as recently as September, according to disclosures posted the legislative tracking site, including Sarah Hughes, legislative correspondent; Courtney Pettis, executive assistant and scheduler; and a number of district staffers.