Alabama Congressman Parker Griffith announced Tuesday he is leaving the Democratic Party to become a Republican.
The 67-year-old freshman representative announced his decision at press conference in his district.
The news comes as one more blow to Democrats who are staring down a potentially difficult midterm election in 2010.
Griffith, who is also a physician, says his opposition to the Democrat's healthcare bill is one of the reasons he is changing parties.
"I believe our nation is at a crossroads and I can no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy, and drives us further and further into debt," Griffith said at Tuesday's press conference.
"I want to make it perfectly clear that this bill is bad for our doctors," he said. "It's bad for our patients. It's bad for the young men and women who are considering going into the health care field."
Griffith's announcement didn't come as a surprise to many on Capitol Hill as he has one of the most conservative voting records among Democrats. He has also been very outspoken with his disapproval of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Following Griffith's defection, Democrats will hold 257 House seats to the Republicans' 178.
To contact your representative and senator, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your senators' and/or representative's office. Or find your representative's contact information on the links below. Let your voice be heard.