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Irked by NRCC Ad, Jeffords Backs Welch

Retiring Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords, who flipped his party affiliation in 2001 from Republican to Independent, has endorsed state Sen. Peter Welch (D) in the state’s at-large Congressional race.

Welch faces Republican Martha Rainville in the contest to succeed Rep. Bernie Sanders (I), who is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Jeffords.

In a tersely worded Oct. 9 letter to Rep. Tom Reynolds (N.Y.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Jeffords said he “did not want to get personally involved” with Vermont candidates’ 2006 campaigns.

But, he wrote, “the NRCC is currently running an advertisement in Vermont in support of Martha Rainville. ... [T]he ad displays my picture and name, which strongly implies that I am supporting [her]. That is not true.”

In the letter, the Senator asked the NRCC to stop running the advertisement.

And he said the country would be better off with Democrats in control of the House. “Therefore, for this election, I believe Peter Welch is a better choice for Vermont,” he wrote.

Brendan McKenna, a spokesman for Rainville, said the NRCC ad “does not imply an endorsement.” As for the Jeffords endorsement of Rainville’s opponent, McKenna said the Rainville campaign was not surprised.
— Kate Ackley

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