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House Democrat switching to Republican Party-aides

WASHINGTON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. Representative Parker Griffith plans to announce on Tuesday he’s switching to the Republican party, aides said, a step that hints at the Democrats’ challenges in next year’s election.

The first-term lawmaker with a largely conservative voting record intends to disclose his decision at a news conference in his congressional district in Alabama, the aides said.

Griffith’s action would help underscore the problems that Democrats face in next year’s congressional election, which is expected to see them lose seats in the House of Representatives.

Democrats hold the House, 258-177. But the party in power traditionally loses seats in the first election after a new president takes office.

At this point, congressional analysts figure that Democrats will lose upward of two dozen seats, but retain control of the House.

Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; editing by Arshad Mohammed and Vicki Allen