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The PJ Tatler

Rick Moran


May 29, 2013 - 1:10 pm

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, who ran as an independent in 2010, has told supporters that he will run on the Democratic line in 2014.

Chafee was the first independent elected governor of Rhode Island since the 18th century.

Chafee won a three way race in 2010, running as a strong supporter of Barack Obama. He is a former Republican senator, having been appointed to the seat upon the death of his father John in 1999 and then winning a full term in 2000.


Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has notified senior Democratic Party officials that he intends to switch his party registration and join the Democratic Party, multiple sources familiar with Chafee’s decision told POLITICO.

Chafee, a former GOP senator elected to the governor’s office as an independent in 2010, has struggled with low approval ratings and faces a difficult reelection fight in 2014.

Chafee “absolutely intends to switch his party registration” ahead of 2014, one national Democrat said.

Multiple Chafee advisers declined to comment on his plans for the upcoming election cycle.

The ex-Republican campaigned for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and ran TV ads in 2010 featuring archival footage of the president praising him.

Despite being officially neutral in the race, Obama was perceived as so Chafee-friendly in 2010 that the Democratic nominee that year, Frank Caprio, told Rhode Island radio station WPRO that the president could “take his endorsement and really shove it.”

Chafee ultimately won a three-way contest with 36 percent of the vote, while Caprio fell into third place.

White House press secretary Jay Carney reacted to the news of Chafee’s planned party switch Wednesday by declaring he’d be welcome in the Democratic fold.

“I would simply say that the president welcomes Gov. Chafee to the party. Gov. Chafee has been a longtime supporter of President Obama and not as a party matter,” Carney said.

It remains to be seen whether other national Democrats will embrace Chafee as one of their own in the 2014 campaign. His polling numbers are weak and multiple up-and-coming Rhode Island Democrats have already stepped up to challenge him.

Both Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and state Treasurer Gina Raimondo are likely candidates in a Democratic primary.

A January survey from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found that Chafee would struggle in a nomination fight against those two candidates, drawing 22 percent of the vote to Raimondo’s 35 percent and Taveras’s 19 percent.

The only reason this is news is because it virtually assures a Democratic win in the governor’s race next year. The Rhode Island Republican party has no statewide office holders, no congressmen, and few proven vote getters. Cranston Mayor Alan Fung, the first Asian-American mayor in Rhode Island, has expressed interest in running for the GOP nomination, but with Chafee’s decision to run as a Democrat, the odds of a GOP victory have lessened greatly and Fung may choose to sit this one out.

To make matters worse for Republicans, the party is in disarray following a contentious and confusing vote for party chair in March. In short, it can’t get much worse for the GOP in Rhode Island who failed to pickup a single Democratic seat in last year’s state assembly elections.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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Another RINO shows his true colors. The Republican Party is better off without these turncoats. When Rhode Island starts sinking into the morass like the other blue states, they'll only have the Democrats to blame.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
BTW, it is not lost on us Massholes that Chafee looks exactly like Ed Markey with the hair and blank gaze in the eyes. AFAIK, nobody has ever seen them both together...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Ocean State is already there. They have CA-levels of unemployment, welfare dependency, out of control public pensions wreaking havoc on public finances and even several municipalities on the verge of bankruptcy.

There will be no escaping that the D-party owns this suckage completely.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There was no hope at all for a Republican, under any circumstance even a Leftist Institutional Republican, of winning anything in Rhode Island. Keep in mind it is a Democrat state, and the Democrats count the votes. [See Stalin's dicta on votes and voting.]

If there are any decent people there, hopefully they will be able to escape to America before the collapse. It is not like they have not had a whole lot of warning as to where things are going.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It may be a disaster for the RI GOP, but it doesn't appear to be a disaster for RI - and that's the only thing that matters. Rhode Islanders prefer the politics of the Democratic party and its representatives, which is why they've elected so many of them. I don't see the problem. Are Rhode Islanders complaining about their representation in great numbers? If they are, why?

Shouild the GOP ape the Democratic party positions to pick up seats in RI? Why? Give the people a clear choice and let them choose - and live the consequences of their choice. If they choose poorly and pain results, then learning occurs, usually - at least for a short time. Thus it has been; thus it will always be.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"In short, it can’t get much worse for the GOP in Rhode Island who failed to pickup a single Democratic seat in last year’s state assembly elections."

Given the current, uh, state of affairs in RI (economically like CA but with harsher winters, politically like IL) it is best for the GOP to let the Democrats take full ownership.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Lincoln Chafee is too bereft of intelligence and political acumen even for the Democrat party. In short, he's an idiot whose only asset was his father John, who was a true statesman when there really were such people. As for Rhode Island, my home state, I knew it was lost when this bozo was elected governor. It has the most beautiful beaches imaginable and very decent fine people, but the unions rule and it seems very few are willing to give up that security. Until they have no choice, that is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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