Democrats Howl at Party Hopping; Alexander's Timing Center of Storm
Byline: Charles Hurt, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Rep. Rodney Alexander's switch late Friday to the Republican Party brought swift and vitriolic responses among Democrats from the Bayou to the Beltway, including from his entire Washington staff that resigned in protest yesterday morning.
"He's a traitor," fumed Andrew Koneschusky of the Louisiana Democratic Party. "He betrayed the people who elected him to the U.S. Congress and the people who supported his re-election."
Particularly galling to Democrats was that the first-term lawmaker waited until 15 minutes before the state's filing deadline to switch his affiliation from Democrat to Republican, leaving Democrats no time to post strong opposition.
"A man of honor, as many before him have done, would have changed his party affiliation well before the filing deadline," said Mr. Alexander's former whip, Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. "He would have had the courage to face a challenger and defend the failed policies promoted by his new party."
Democrats now must oust 12 Republicans in order to capture control of the House, a difficult task considering that political analysts have deemed only about 30 races to be competitive.
Mr. Alexander initially was registered to run for re-election as a Democrat in Louisiana's 5th Congressional District, where George W. Bush received 59 percent of the vote in the 2000 election. He had rebuffed entreaties to join the Republican Party earlier this year.
"It was an act of a person without honor or integrity," Mr. Hoyer said. "In my 24 years in Congress, I cannot recall a more deceitful, more calculated, more treacherous violation of trust - which Congressman Alexander sought and which he received - than what he had done over the past few days and months. …