|74th Governor of Rhode Island|
January 4, 2011
|Preceded by||Donald Carcieri|
|United States Senator
from Rhode Island
November 4, 1999 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||John Chafee|
|Succeeded by||Sheldon Whitehouse|
|Mayor of Warwick|
|Preceded by||Charles Donovan|
|Succeeded by||Scott Avedisian|
|Born||Lincoln Davenport Chafee
March 26, 1953
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Political party||Republican Party (Before 2007)
|Alma mater||Brown University
Montana State University, Bozeman
Lincoln Davenport "Linc" Chafee (pron.: //; born March 26, 1953) is an American politician who since January 2011 has been the 74th Governor of Rhode Island. Prior to his election as governor, Chafee served in the United States Senate as a Republican from 1999 until losing his Senate re-election bid in 2006 to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. In 2007, he left the Republican Party and became an independent. He is the first independent to serve as Governor of Rhode Island since John Collins, who served 1786–1790.
A Rhode Island native educated at Phillips Academy and Brown University, Chafee worked as a professional farrier for seven years before entering state politics in 1985. He was a delegate to the Rhode Island State Constitutional Convention, a member of the Warwick, Rhode Island city council, and later the mayor of Warwick. Chafee was appointed to the United States Senate in 1999 upon the death of his father, Senator John Chafee, and was elected in the 2000 Senate election for a full six-year term.
Chafee was a supporter of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential bid and was a co-chair of Obama's re-election campaign. On January 4, 2010, Chafee declared his intent to run for Governor of Rhode Island. Prior to entering the gubernatorial race, he was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies.
Early life, education, and early career 
Chafee was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Virginia (née Coates) and John Chafee. He attended public schools in Warwick, Rhode Island, Providence Country Day School, and Phillips Academy. At Brown University, Chafee captained the wrestling team, and in 1975 earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classics. He then attended the Montana State University horseshoeing school in Bozeman. For the next seven years, he worked as a farrier at harness racetracks in the United States and Canada. One of the horses he shod, Overburden, set the track record at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta.
Personal life and family 
Chafee and his wife, Stephanie D. Chafee, have three children: Louisa, Caleb and Thea.
Chafee's great-great-grandfather, Henry Lippitt, was Governor of Rhode Island. Among his great-great-uncles are Rhode Island Governor Charles Warren Lippitt and United States Senator Henry Frederick Lippitt. His great-uncle, Zechariah Chafee, was a Harvard law professor and a notable civil libertarian. The Chafee family was among the earliest settlers of Hingham, Massachusetts, before moving south to Rhode Island.
Political career 
Local politics 
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.
United States Senator 
After his father announced he would not seek re-election in 2000, Lincoln Chafee announced he would run for the seat. When John Chafee died suddenly in October 1999, Gov. Lincoln Almond appointed the younger Chafee to serve out the term.
2000 re-election campaign 
2006 re-election campaign 
In September 2005, Steve Laffey, the mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, announced his intention to run against Chafee in the Republican primary election. Among other stances differing from those of Chafee, Mayor Laffey opposed abortion and stem cell research. Laffey was supported by notable conservative groups including the Club for Growth and several Ohio-based anti-abortion groups.
Chafee went on to defeat Laffey in the primary on September 12 by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent, an unusually close margin for an incumbent Senator. The turnout for the Republican primary was the largest in Rhode Island history. In his victory speech, Chafee credited independent voters and disaffiliated Democrats for his victory.
Chafee was defeated by Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in the general election. Whitehouse won by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin. Despite Chafee's high approval ratings statewide, the state had tended to lean heavily toward socially liberal or moderate candidates for many decades. As a result, Whitehouse succeeded by attacking the instances in which Chafee supported his party's conservative congressional leadership (whose personalities and policies were very unpopular, state-wide).
In response to a question at a news conference on November 9, 2006, Chafee stated he was unsure whether he would remain in the Republican Party after serving out the remainder of his term. According to Michelle R. Smith of the Associated Press, when asked whether he felt that his loss may have helped the country by switching control of power in Congress (toward moderate Democrats and away from conservative Republicans), he replied: "To be honest, yes."
Post-Senate activities 
In December 2006, Chafee announced he was accepting a fellowship to serve as a "distinguished visiting fellow" at Brown University's Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies. The university had Chafee lead a student group studying U.S. foreign policy.
In the September of 2007, Chafee officially left the Republican Party, changing his affiliation to Independent. He said that he did so because of the Republicans' increasing conservatism, and particularly cited their reductions in funding to programs assisting middle- and low-income citizens (e.g., Pell Grants and Head Start). In February 2008, he said he was considering voting for then-Senator Barack Obama in Rhode Island's Democratic presidential primary election. On February 14, with the Rhode Island Democratic primary approaching in three weeks, Chafee officially endorsed Obama. In 2012, he was one of 35 co-chairs selected to "act as key surrogates and ambassadors" for Obama's re-election campaign.
In September 2008, Chafee received media attention for describing Sarah Palin, then-Governor of Alaska and the Republican vice-presidential nominee in the 2008 presidential election, as a "cocky wacko".
Governor of Rhode Island 
On January 4, 2010 Chafee formally declared his intention to run for Governor of Rhode Island in 2010 as an independent,  as the incumbent Governor Donald Carcieri (a Republican re-elected the same day Chafee lost his Senate re-election bid) was term-limited at the time. On October 31, 2010, electoral analysis site FiveThirtyEight.com gave Chafee a 63.8% chance of victory, compared to Democratic opponent Frank Caprio's 26.2% and Republican opponent John Robitaille's 10.0%. Likewise, other sites, such as the Cook Political Report, classified the race as a "toss-up". Chafee's approval rating at the time of his 2006 defeat was between 51% and 63%.
On September 16, 2010, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who had also switched from Republican to Independent in recent years) traveled to Rhode Island. Bloomberg praised Chafee's "experience and integrity", saying that Chafee would put Rhode Islanders' interests "ahead of party interests", and that Chafee would "produce results -— because that's exactly what he did as a mayor and as senator." On November 2, 2010, Chafee won the gubernatorial race, winning with a 35.9% plurality in the seven-candidate race.
In November 2011, it was reported that Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, the Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, had asked Chafee to join the Democratic Party. When asked if he was considering it, Chafee responded, "I’m happy where I am for now."
In 2012, for the second Christmas in a row, Chafee stirred up controversy during the annual Christmas tree lighting at the Rhode Island Statehouse when he called the towering fir, decorated with Christmas lights, tinsel and toys, a "holiday tree," insisting that "I’m representing all of Rhode Island, I have to be respectful of everyone.”
Political positions 
Chafee is pro-choice. In 2003, Chafee was one of the three Republican Senators to oppose the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. His 2005 senatorial re-election bid was endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Church and state 
On December 20, 2010, Chafee's spokesman Michael Trainor told Providence Journal that Chafee would skip Episcopalian services on January 4, 2011, to be at home with his family. Trainor elaborated, saying: "His point of view is that his Inauguration Day needs to respect the separation of church and state. Separation of church and state is an important constitutional principle."
Death penalty 
Chafee opposes the death penalty, and has consistently voted against limiting death penalty appeals in federal cases. He has also favored including racial statistics in death penalty appeals, and making DNA analysis a prerequisite for any federal-level, criminal executions.
In May 2011, Chafee resisted turning over a case to the U.S. Supreme Court due to his views on the death penalty. In regards to the case, which would likely result in a capital punishment ruling, Chafee said: "The State of Rhode Island must seek to protect both the strong states' rights issues at stake, and the legitimacy of its longstanding public policy against the death penalty."
Chafee is "wary" of Race to the Top, "because Race to the Top includes money for charter schools". He says he would ask federal officials "what kind of flexibility we might have" to alter Race to the Top, were he elected Governor.
On "education reform" in general, Chafee does not believe the politically and publicly popular presumption that America's schools are failing, saying:
This notion of all these failing schools, if this were true, how did America get to be at the status where we are in the world if it were that bad? So I don’t buy into the trashing of our public school system. Somehow Brown University, and University of Rhode Island and Bryant University, Providence College are full of public school students that are doing very, very well and leading America in many fields. Yes, there's room for improvement, I don't deny that and I want to be part of the improvement. But the notion that our public school systems are in disarray and failing, I don't buy that.
Chafee easily won the endorsements of all major public school teachers unions, including the Rhode Island affiliates of the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers in his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
Chafee was one of the few Republicans to vote against allowing drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and was a member of the Republicans for Environmental Protection. He has been endorsed throughout his career by the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.
Gay rights 
Iraq War 
Chafee was the only Republican in the Senate to have voted against authorization of the use of force in Iraq. On June 22, 2006, he was the only Republican to vote for the Levin amendment calling for a nonbinding timetable for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
Chafee voted against the Kerry-Feingold amendment calling for a binding timetable.
Chafee is now involved in the J Street project, a liberal Jewish group that calls for Israel to withdraw from all occupied territories and advocates for a "two state" solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Tax policy 
Chafee opposes eliminating the federal estate tax. Chafee also voted against both the 2001 and 2003 congressional budget bills that cut and/or rebated individuals' federal income taxes. He pointed out that tax cuts reduce revenue to the federal government, thereby worsening the federal budget deficit and increasing the amount of money it has to borrow in order to operate.
On November 17, 2005, he was the only Republican to vote in favor of reinstating the top federal income tax rate of 39.6% (which last existed under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s) on the highest-income taxpayers.
A 2012 Poll showed that some of Chafee's proposed tax increases, intended to move the state from budget deficit to surplus status, had received negative feedback from Rhode Island residents. The majority of constituents opposed Chafee's proposed increase in driver's license and registration fees (67.5 percent), restoring tolls on the Sakonnet River bridge (57 percent), and raising the restaurant meals-and-beverage tax by two cents (80.3 percent).
2006 John Bolton renomination 
In November 2006, immediately following the midterm elections, Chafee joined key Democrats in opposing President Bush's renomination of John Bolton as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. On December 4, 2006, the White House announced that Bolton would no longer seek the appointment, and would resign within a matter of weeks.
Other issues 
Chafee favors increased federal funding for health care, and supports an increase in the federal minimum wage. He supports affirmative action and gun control, and was one of only two Republicans to vote against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (which prevents firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for crimes committed with their products. On June 27, 2006, Chafee was one of only three Republicans to vote against the proposed Flag Desecration Amendment.
Some Chafee's positions considered to be within the mainstream of the current Republican Party include his support of free trade agreements (e.g., North American Free Trade Agreement and Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA); Bankruptcy Reform; the partial privatization of Social Security; and, the USA Patriot Act.
Chafee also co-sponsored the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, which expanded federal jurisdiction over class-action lawsuits, and voted against a wholesale ban on gifts from employees of lobbying companies.
Chafee's liberal stances have led some conservatives to refer to him as a "Republican In Name Only, or RINO". Most notable among these was Human Events magazine, which named Chafee "the No. 1 RINO in the country." The National Journal has rated Chafee as The Least Conservative Republican in the Senate, and placed him to the left of two Democrats, Nebraska's Ben Nelson and Louisiana's Mary Landrieu (the only Republican ranked to the left of the latter senator).
Known for often disagreeing with the Republican Party leadership, Chafee says he did not cast his ballot for President George W. Bush in the 2004 election, instead choosing to write in former president George H. W. Bush as a nod to the Republican Party of his father. Chafee frequently criticized the younger Bush's record on the environment, and expressed concern about the 2004 Republican platform and overall philosophical direction of the party. He described the younger Bush's presidency as "an agenda of energizing the far-right-wing base, which is divisive." Soon thereafter, he rejected Democratic overtures to leave the Republican Party after appeals to him from other Republican senators to remain in their caucus.
Chafee considered challenging George W. Bush for re-nomination in the New Hampshire primary in 2004 on an anti- (Iraq and Afghanistan) war platform. In his autobiography, Against the Tide (2007), he states that "In the fall of 2003, part of me thought it was cowardly to oppose the president on so many issues and then not oppose him head-on as he sought renomination." However, he decided not to run after the capture of Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003.
In 2003, Chafee voted against the Medicare Part D prescription drug expansion. However, Chafee also cast a crucial procedural vote against a Democratic attempt to kill that bill, which failed by only two votes.
On May 23, 2005, Chafee was one of 14 bipartisan senators to forge a compromise on the Democrats' use of the judicial filibuster, forestalling the Republican leadership's implementation of the so-called "nuclear option". Under the agreement, the Democrats would retain the power to filibuster a Bush II judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance", and three of the most conservative Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William Pryor) would receive a vote by the full Senate.
Chafee was the only Republican to oppose George W. Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court. However, he voted to end debate on the nomination, helping to end any chance of a Democratic filibuster of it. Chafee did not announce his opposition to the nomination until a majority of Senators had already publicly said they would support Alito.
Conservative author and radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt argued that Chafee is one of the greatest roadblocks to creating a permanent Republican majority in the country because of his unwillingness to conform to the party's social goals. Hewitt argued further that Republicans should remove him from office by any necessary means, including voting for a Democrat running against him. Ann Coulter expressed disgust that George W. Bush campaigned for Chafee in the Republican primary against conservative Steve Laffey.
Electoral history 
|Rhode Island Gubernatorial Election 2010|
|Rhode Island U.S. Senate Election 2006|
|Republican||Lincoln Chafee (incumbent)||179,001||46.44|
|Rhode Island U.S. Senate Election 2006 – Republican Primary|
|Republican||Lincoln Chafee (incumbent)||34,934||54.17|
|Rhode Island U.S. Senate Election 2000|
|Republican||Lincoln Chafee (incumbent)||222,588||56.88|
|Warwick, Rhode Island Mayoral Election 1998|
|Republican||Lincoln Chafee (incumbent)||17,808||57.56|
See also 
- Republican and conservative support for Barack Obama in 2008
- Rockefeller Republican
- Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., another liberal Republican senator who was elected governor of his home state (Connecticut) as a third-party candidate.
- "Chafee quietly quits the GOP". Projo.com. September 16, 2007. Archived from the original on September 19, 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
- "Chafee family tree". Rootsweb.com. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
- The Chaffee Genealogy, William Henry Chaffee, 1635–1909, The Grafton Press, New York, 1909. Google Books. September 2, 2000. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- Murray, Shailagh (April 14, 2006). "A Republican on the Edge". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- "Extra: Election | Rhode Island news | projo.com | The Providence Journal". projo.com. September 13, 2006. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- Smith, Michelle (6 November 2006). "Chafee unsure of staying with GOP after losing election". Associated Press. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- Chafee takes fellowship at Brown. December 15, 2006, Providence Journal. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
- Former RI Sen. Lincoln Chafee Leaves GOP. September 16, 2007 Associated Press report. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
- Ex-Republican Chafee considers voting for Obama in R.I. primary. Mark Arsenault, February 8, 2008 The Providence Journal. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
- "Former Rhode Island senator endorses Obama". Politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com. February 14, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- Tau, Byron (February 22, 2012). "Obama campaign announces co-chairs". Politico. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
- "Supporters". J Street. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- MSNBC http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26661483/ns/politics-decision_08/t/former-gop-senator-calls-palin-cocky-wacko/#.TzimFV6KOJM
|url=missing title (help).
- "Chafee to make it official: He is running for governor – Projo 7 to 7 News Blog | Rhode Island news | The Providence Journal". Newsblog.projo.com. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "Rhode Island Governor Forecast". Elections.nytimes.com. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "Cook Political Report – Governors". Cookpolitical.com. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- by BlueLobster 2007-08-02 10:32 am. "Interviewwith Tom Allen". MyDD. Retrieved November 3, 2010. Text "0 recs" ignored (help)
- "RI Jr Sen Approval". SurveyUSA. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "Update: NY Mayor Bloomberg visits RI, endorses Chafee/ Video – Projo 7 to 7 News Blog | Rhode Island news | The Providence Journal". Newsblog.projo.com. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- Bidgood, Jess (November 3, 2010). "Lincoln Chafee". New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
- "Democratic governors’ chief woos Chafee to join Obama’s party". WPRI. November 29, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
- Lincoln Chafee on Abortion OnTheIssues.org
- Rivoli, Dan (11 May 2012). "Death Penalty Causes State-Fed Clash Over Accused Murderer In Rhode Island". Business & Law. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- on September 24, 2010 (September 24, 2010). "Lincoln Chafee on Jobs, the RIEDC, Race to the Top and More". Rifuture.org. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "3 of 4 candidates for R.I. governor back Gist, Race to the Top, Providence Journal, September 28, 2010". Projo.com. September 28, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- on August 25, 2010 (August 25, 2010). "The NEARI Endorses Lincoln Chafee". Rifuture.org. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "RIFT for Chafee". Riteachers4chafee.com. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "Roll Call". Senate. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
- Armental, Maria (23 February 2012). "Poll: R.I. Rep. Cicilline's approval rating down to 14.8 percent, Chafee's 22.1 percent". Providence Journal. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- Nadelmann, Ethan (December 27, 2010) Breaking the Taboo, The Nation
- "Lincoln Chafee for Senate: Issues2000.org". Ontheissues.org. February 12, 2000. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "Lincoln Chafee on Social Security". Ontheissues.org. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "Senate Votes on 2006-080". Ontheissues.org. March 29, 2006. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- Jill Zuckman (September 13, 2006). "GOP favorite wins Rhode Island primary". Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle.
- "Sen. Lincoln Chafee Gains GOP Support". NewsMax.com. Associated Press. September 7, 2006.
- "Human Events". Human Events. December 27, 2005. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- [dead link]
- "The Good 5 Cent Cigar". Ramcigar.com. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "Sen. Chafee considers leaving GOP". USA Today. November 3, 2004. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- CNN http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/11/09/republicans.chafee.ap/
|url=missing title (help).[dead link]
- Lincoln Chafee, Against the Tide (2007), p.119-120
- "Providence | Local News | M. Charles Bakst". Projo.com. December 2, 2003. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "Chafee says he will vote against Alito - Boston.com".[dead link]
- "Alito Filibuster Fails, Confirmation Vote Expected Tuesday". Fox News. January 31, 2006.
- They Shot the Wrong Lincoln. by Ann Coulter, August 30, 2006. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
- "RI.gov: Election Results". Rhode Island Government. November 17, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
- Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee official state site
- Chafee for Governor official campaign site
- Biography at the National Governors Association
- Biography, interest group ratings, public statements, vetoes and campaign finances at Project Vote Smart
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Appearances at the Internet Movie Database
- Collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Works by or about Lincoln Chafee in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Profile at Notable Names Database
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance (federal office) at LegiStorm.com
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- 15 things about Lincoln Chafee, U.S. News & World Report, June 16, 2006
|Mayor of Warwick
|Governor of Rhode Island
|United States Senate|
|United States Senator (Class 1) from Rhode Island
Served alongside: Jack Reed
|United States order of precedence|
as Vice President
|Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Rhode Island
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
as Governor of North Carolina
|Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Rhode Island
as Governor of Vermont