WASHINGTON -- Vermont Sen. James M. Jeffords has received multiple death threats since announcing last week that he is leaving the Republican Party, a move that gives Democrats control of the Senate, an aide said Thursday.
Erik Smulson, Jeffords' press secretary, said the threats had been received at the senator's offices in Washington and in Montpelier, Vt. Smulson declined to provide additional information about the threats, except to say that the matter has been referred to the U.S. Capitol Police.
A security detail from the force accompanied Jeffords on Capitol Hill late last week, before he left to attend a conference in Italy on environmental issues.
Lt. Dan Nichols of the Capitol Police said the protection "will remain in in place until the threat diminishes."
Jeffords, 67, stunned Washington by declaring that he would become an independent, tipping what has been an evenly split Senate in favor of Democrats when lawmakers return Tuesday from a weeklong recess.
Dismayed GOP leaders initially were low-key in their comments about Jeffords and his decision, but some have become more pointed in their comments as the shift in Senate control nears.
Jeffords will return campaign donations to Vermonters who request it, his spokesman said Thursday.
(Portions of this story were provided by The Associated Press)
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.