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Since rejoining the party and entering the governor’s race, Griffith has spent much of his time traveling the state to meet with Democratic and labor groups. He’s already picked up two union endorsements in the Mobile area, and he’s working on others. Each of the meetings has involved tough questions about why he left the Democratic Party and why he came back.

Griffith tells them he thought he was doing what was best for his district, but it was a mistake in hindsight.

At the end of the explanation, they get a punch line: “I’m not a politician. I’m certainly not a good one.”

Griffith faces Fayette businessman Kevin Bass, a political newcomer, in the Democratic primary June 3. But with a far bigger campaign chest and campaign staff than Bass, he’s already talking about a November general election campaign against Bentley.

He tells voters that unlike Bentley, he would expand Alabama’s Medicaid program to add about 300,000 more people under the federal health care law.

“I’m a pro-life Democrat and I voted against the Affordable Care Act because I knew there is a better way to do this. But now that it’s the law, I want to take what is good in that law and apply it to Alabama,” he said.

He calls the immigration law that Bentley signed in 2011 “mean spirited” and says he would work to repeal it and replace it with one that doesn’t put so many regulations on Alabama businesses.

He said he would also work to repeal the Alabama Accountability Act that Bentley signed last year. The law provides tax credits for parents who move their children from failing public schools to private schools and provide scholarships to private schools for low-income students.

“It’s an attack on public education. It’s shifting money into private schools while pretending you are trying to protect children in failing schools,” he said.

While Griffith and Bentley disagree on several key issues, they are close on one. Bentley was elected in 2010 after promising not to take a salary as governor until unemployment drops to 5.2 percent. It’s now down to 6.4 percent. Griffith said he won’t take a salary no matter how low the rate goes.