Chafee won’t seek reelection in Rhode Island

September 4, 2013

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) will not seek a second term, he announced Wednesday, a surprising decision that came just months after Chafee became a Democrat in an apparent attempt at political survival.

Chafee made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Division of Motor Vehicles in Cranston, catching many observers by surprise.

He said he wanted to finish his term focused on "issues that Rhode Islanders would like him to focus on" instead of a "hugely time consuming" reelection campaign, according to the Providence Journal.

Hamstrung by lousy polling numbers and the strong possibility of losing in a three-way race, Chafee, a former Republican senator who campaigned as an independent in 2010, became a Democrat in May. The move suggested Chafee felt his best chance at victory was to try to win a competitive Democratic primary, and then compete in a less-crowded general election. President Obama, a close friend of Chafee's, lauded Chafee's move to the Democratic Party at the time.

Now, the focus on the Democratic side will be squarely on Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who are expected to compete for the nomination.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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