2016 



Former U.S. Senator and Governor from Rhode Island
Born: March 26th, 1953  (age 64)


Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Lincoln Davenport Chafee received his education at Philips Academy and Brown University, ultimately graduating with a bachelor's degree in Classics. Originally working as a professional farrier (horse shoer) for seven years, he began a successful and varied political career in 1985. Chafee started out Republican, serving as a GOP Senator for eight years, before leaving that party and becoming an Independent. He was elected Governor of Rhode Island in 2011, the first person without a party affiliation to hold the office since the 18th century. In 2013, with months remaining in his first and only gubernatorial term, he formally switched allegiance and joined the Democratic party. As a Democrat, he is exploring his options for a Presidential run in 2016.


Chafee announced the exploratory campaign on April 9, 2015.
Like the list of his past affiliations, Chafee's political leanings borrow from all sides of the spectrum. He has advocated a position of moderation on US foreign policy, along with generally liberal social policy. In 2012, he became involved in a Christmas controversy when he chose to refer to the decorated fir tree in the Rhode Island State House during the Winter season as a “holiday tree”, explaining that as he represented everyone in Rhode Island, he must be sensitive to those who would object to specifying the Christmas observance. Among other colorful epithets, Chafee was called a “grinch” for this attitude. However, during his service in the US Senate, he was generally considered a moderate but definite Republican, and his fiscal policies tend to be conservative.

Unfortunately for Chafee, his varied opinions on policy have made him few friends among American voters, and his tendency to alienate both sides of the aisle contributed heavily to his decision not to seek a second term as Governor of Rhode Island (when his approval rating was notably lackluster). This difficulty with establishing a solid constituency also proved the fatal flaw during his 2016 run for President. Chafee dropped out of the race for his party’s nomination on October 23, 2015.
 
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