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Lincoln Chafee
Lincoln Chafee official portrait.jpg
74th Governor of Rhode Island
In office
January 4, 2011 – January 6, 2015
Lieutenant Elizabeth Roberts
Preceded by Don Carcieri
Succeeded by Gina Raimondo
United States Senator
from Rhode Island
In office
November 2, 1999 – January 3, 2007
Appointed by Lincoln Almond
Preceded by John Chafee
Succeeded by Sheldon Whitehouse
Mayor of Warwick
In office
January 1, 1993 – November 1, 1999
Preceded by Charles Donovan
Succeeded by Scott Avedisian
Personal details
Lincoln Davenport Chafee

March 26, 1953 (1953-03-26) (age 68)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Political party Libertarian (2019–present)
Other political
Republican (before 2007)
Independent (2007–2013)
Democratic (2013–2019)
Stephanie Birney Danforth (m. 1990)
Children 3, including Louisa
Residence Teton Village, Wyoming, U.S.
Education Brown University (BA)

Lincoln Davenport Chafee (born March 26, 1953) is an American politician. He was the Governor of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015. Before becoming governor, he was a junior U.S. Senator of Rhode Island from 1999 to 2007.

In 2016, he made a brief and unsuccessful bid for President of the United States in the 2016 Democratic primaries. In January 2020, Chafee announced he would run again, but this time for the Libertarian nomination. He ended his second campaign in April 2020.

Early life

Chafee was born in Providence, Rhode Island. His father, John Chafee, was also a Senator from Rhode Island and member of the liberal wing of the Republican Party. His mother was Virginia Coates. Chafee was raised in Warwick, Rhode Island. He studied at Brown University and at Montana State University.

Early career

Chafee entered politics in 1985 as a delegate to the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention. A year later, he was elected to the Warwick City Council, where he served until his election as Warwick's mayor in 1992, a post he held until his 1999 appointment to the U.S. Senate.

U.S. senator (1999-2007)

After his father died in office, Chafee was appointed to fill his vacancy. He was elected to his first full term in 2000.

He was a very liberal Republican senator. He is strongly pro-choice and supports gay rights and gun control. He was the only Republican senator in 2002 to voted against war in Iraq. He was the only Republican United States senator to vote against authorizing the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

In 2004, he did not endorse the reelection of President George W. Bush, and urged other Republicans to write-in in the November election George H. W. Bush, not his son. In January 2006, he was also the only Republican senator to vote against Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court.

He was defeated for re-election in the Senate in 2006 by Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.

Governor of Rhode Island (2011-2015)

RI Governor Lincoln Chafee
Chafee's official portrait as governor

Chafee was elected as Governor of Rhode Island in 2010. He was sworn in on January 4, 2011. He became the first Independent to serve as Governor of Rhode Island since John Collins in 1790.

In 2012, he served as co-chair of Barack Obama's re-election campaign. Since then, he was a Democrat.

On May 1, 2013, Chafee signed a bill that legalized same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.

Chafee has shown some willingness to deviate from strict "War on Drugs" policies, in favor of alternative approaches to America's drug-crime problem.

On September 4, 2013, Chafee announced that he would not run for re-election as Governor of Rhode Island after months of low-approval ratings from the public and by election officials.

2016 presidential campaign

Chafee for President
Chafee's 2016 logo

On April 9, 2015, Chafee announced that he had formed an exploratory committee in preparation for a potential candidacy for President of the United States as a Democrat in 2016. He formally declared his candidacy on June 3, 2015.

Following a widely panned debate performance, poor polling numbers, and a poor fundraising campaign, Lincoln Chafee announced on October 23 that he would be suspending his campaign.

2020 presidential campaign

On March 11, 2019, Chafee officially switched from the Democratic to Libertarian Party, stating that, "It's what I've always been — fiscally conservative and socially liberal."

In August 2019, Chafee said that he'd "be open" to running for president as a Libertarian.

On January 5, 2020, Chaffee formally filed to run for the Libertarian nomination. He is scheduled to make a formal campaign announcement on January 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. He ended his campaign on April 5, 2020 after failing to win any of the primary contests.

Personal life

Chafee married Stephanie Chafee in January 1990. They have three children. He now lives in Teton Village, Wyoming.

Preceded by
John Chafee
U.S. Senator from Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Sheldon Whitehouse

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