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- ended campaign for Democratic nomination on Oct. 23, 2015 -   




visits to 2ndQ '15
Lincoln Chafee for President

chafee2016  |  @lincolnchafee 

Conventional Wisdom

- Experience as a local elected official, U.S. Senator and governor.
- As a former Republican and Independent, Chafee could wage a campaign that transcends partisanship.

- Questionable ability to raise the resources and build an organization that can compete with the Clinton juggernaut.
- Hailing from the smallest state by land area and eighth smallest state by population, Chafee does not have a national base of support.

Notes, Coverage and Speeches

- DNC Summer Meeting at the Minneapolis Hilton in Minneapolis, MN, Aug. 28, 2015.
- Announcement speech at George Mason University in Arlington, VA, June 3, 2015.

2015 -  Out of the blue, on April 9, 2015 former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee announced he was considering a run for President of the United States.  In an introductory video, Chafee stated, "Throughout my career as Mayor, Governor and United States Senator I exercised good judgment on a wide range of high pressure decisions--decisions that require level-headedness and careful foresight."  Chafee's exploratory announcement, coming with Hillary Clinton expected to announce her candidacy imminently, seemed somewhat whimsical or as one writer put it "random."  The Washington Post's Philip Bump wrote, "This may simply be an effort to promote his image -- and sell a few books along the way."  Alternatively, it could be seen an example of careful foresight, where Chafee was looking ahead to a Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush matchup and people are clamoring for another choice.  Chafee has taken the outside route before, having been elected governor as an Independent.  On June 3, after a couple of months of exploring, Chafee announced his candidacy in a speech at George Mason University emphasizing foreign policy. 

Chafee ran a very low key campaign.  He had only a small inner circle of staff, and did not seem to be trying to build a network of supporters and a campaign organization so much as just making the rounds.  He devoted most of his attention to New Hampshire; typically he would drive up, speak to a local Democratic group, and return to Rhode Island the same evening.  All told he made 35 trips to New Hampshire in this manner, but he never really pushed beyond his comfort zone, doing an extended trip.  Chafee also visited Iowa four times.  He participated in the first Democratic debate in Las Vegas on October 13, but his performance was not well reviewed.  On October 23, speaking at the DNC's Women's Leadership Forum in Washington, DC, Chafee ended his campaign by making a pitch for peace.  "It's evident that all this military power isn't working for us now," he stated.  "We must take chances for peace."

Lincoln Chafee.  April 1, 2008.  AGAINST THE TIDE: How a Compliant Congress Empowered a Reckless President.  New York: Thomas Dunne Books.  [MacMillan imprint]
"Unabashedly frank, Chafee’s memoir recounts his political journey from small-town mayor to a voice crying from the congressional wilderness. He offers a forward-looking assessment of what comes next for the Republican and Democratic parties, and he also addresses the potential rise of a third party within the void created by bipartisan extremism. Most important, Chafee sounds a wake-up call to his Party, and to all Americans, by challenging our government to strive, as Abraham Lincoln once articulated, 'to elevate the condition of men.'"

  this page last revised Octover 23, 2015