Another Switch

Chafee won’t seek reelection.

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Sept. 5, 2013, 6:08 a.m.

Gov. Lin­coln Chafee (D) “an­nounced Wed­nes­day that he will not seek reelec­tion next year.” Chafee “has been plagued by low job-ap­prov­al num­bers and what he de­scribed Wed­nes­day as ‘ir­ra­tion­al neg­at­iv­ity’ around his stances on is­sues big and small, from drivers’ li­censes for un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants to what he called the State House Christ­mas tree.”

Chafee: “We have our chal­lenges in Rhode Is­land and I want to de­vote all my time and en­ergy to those chal­lenges.” Asked if he thought he would’ve won a second term, Chafee said: “I do. … But the main thing is that you can’t be do­ing two jobs well at the same time, es­pe­cially with the situ­ation we have here in Rhode Is­land … when you are look­ing at an elec­tion, some­times you make com­prom­ises that might not be made if you wer­en’t in­volved in a cam­paign. … I think if you were go­ing to look up ‘prin­cipled lead­er’ in the dic­tion­ary, you’d see a pic­ture of Linc Chafee.”

Brown Uni­versity pro­fess­or Wendy Schiller: “I think he real­ized he couldn’t win and I think he’d rather spend the next year and half do­ing some good for the state than wa­ging a los­ing battle.” (Provid­ence Journ­al)

DEMO­CRAT­IC PRIMARY BATTLE: Chafee’s de­cision leaves a likely two-way Demo­crat­ic primary battle between Gen­er­al Treas­urer Gina Rai­mondo (D) and Provid­ence May­or An­gel Taver­as (D). Neither has of­fi­cially launched a cam­paign yet, but both Demo­crats have been pre­par­ing for gubernat­ori­al runs be­hind the scenes. Cran­ston May­or Al­lan Fung (R) is ex­pec­ted to launch a bid for the GOP nom­in­a­tion, while Mod­er­ate Party founder Ken Block is the only can­did­ate of­fi­cially in the race. (WPRI-TV)

Taver­as prob­ably stands to be­ne­fit most from Chafee’s exit. The state’s pub­lic em­ploy­ee uni­ons, some of whom backed Chafee’s in­de­pend­ent bid in 2010, will likely unite be­hind the Provid­ence may­or. Rai­mondo, who will start the race with a huge fun­drais­ing edge, ali­en­ated the uni­ons with her land­mark pen­sion re­forms, and the labor move­ment will spend heav­ily in an at­tempt to block her path to the nom­in­a­tion.
Kev­in Bren­nan

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