WASHINGTON – Sen. Jim Jeffords (search), I-Vt., shows no longing for the Republican Party. In a fund-raising pitch for Senate Democrats, he says "my worst fears about the Bush administration have been confirmed, and then some."
In an e-mail distributed Thursday by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (search), Jeffords said the Democratic Party, with which he caucuses, has "a real chance" to regain the majority it lost after the 2002 elections. Jeffords left the GOP three years ago to help Democrats gain control of the Senate.
"I felt the party had abandoned its fundamental principles of tolerance, moderation and fiscal responsibility -- the party of George W. Bush clearly was no longer the party of Lincoln," he wrote. "Looking back, I can honestly say my worst fears about the Bush administration have been confirmed, and then some."
Jeffords expanded his criticism, accusing Republicans of "dirty tricks" against Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., who narrowly won re-election in 2002. He also contended that a Democratic majority in the Senate could "stop Bush and his ultra right wing allies next year -- when as many as four U.S. Supreme Court Justices could retire."
The DSCC raises money and contributes to Senate candidates. The Senate has 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and Jeffords. Democrats need a net gain of two seats in the Nov. 2 elections to become the majority party.