R.I. Senator Chafee Considers Defecting From GOP
Another U.S. senator may follow Vermont's Jim Jeffords out of the Republican Party — but only if the GOP regains the majority.
Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., told Fox News he would defect "if some issues that I feel strongly about are not addressed."
After Senate Republicans held their weekly closed-door lunch, Chafee said he is worried that the issues Jeffords raised when he left the GOP are being "minimized." He also said the Republicans are becoming more combative now that they are in the minority, and that he wants the party to change right away.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, was quick to point out that the GOP has been in the minority for only a week so it's a bit early to make snap judgments.
Like Jeffords, Chafee said he's very troubled that Republicans, in his opinion, are moving more to the right. He said he wants the party to be more tolerant and less conservative on abortion, education and the environment.
Jeffords left the Republican Party last month and became an independent, a switch that ended GOP control of the Senate. The move gave Democrats control of the Senate, 50-49-1, for the first time since they lost it in the 1994 elections.
-- Fox News' Carl Cameron contributed to this report