Sunday, August 08, 2004

Rep. Alexander switches parties 

Just five months after announcing he would remain a Democrat, conservative Louisiana Rep. Rodney Alexander has switched to the GOP -- on the final day candidates could register for the November ballot in Louisiana. The timing of the move prevents the Democrats from fielding a strong challenger.

In changing parties, Alexander is following in the footsteps of Texas Rep. Ralph Hall, who went over to the GOP back in January. In some ways, these defections may be good for the Democratic party in the long run. A big tent is all well and good, but Rep. Alexander is pro-life, pro-gun, voted for the Bush tax cuts, Bush prescription drug plan, and the Iraq war. He announced in February that he preferred Bush to any of the Democratic primary candidates. Does someone with these political views really belong in the Democratic party? Switching parties is understandable, but the manner in which Alexander chose to do it was pretty low. This is what he said back in March:

I have determined that I can do the best job for the 5th District by remaining where I am. I'm not going to change the way I vote, so there is no need to change my party.

Alexander lied to his own party in order to avoid having to face a challenger in November. That's pretty low.

UPDATE: Alexander's entire staff has resigned in protest, and the DCCC wants its money back from his campaign. Plus, the Louisiana Democratic Party is looking into legal challenges to Alexander's candidacy, including getting him disqualified from the ballot or recalling him if he wins.

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