Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, right, after signing the the Marriage Equality Act at the State House in Providence, R.I., on May 2. (Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters)

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) intends to run for reelection as a Democrat, according to two people familiar with his decision, a move that suggests that the first-term governor does not see a path to reelection as an independent.

Chafee, a former Republican senator, won the governorship in 2010 in a competitive three-way race. His prospects for a second term have looked dim, as polling shows his numbers are downright bad. Chafee's made no secret about the fact that he has been considering switching to the Democratic Party. His decision signals that he believes his best chance for survival is competing in what is expected to be a competitive Democratic primary.

Chafee is expected to announce his decision shortly, possibly as soon as this week, the people familiar with his decision say.