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Lincoln Chafee Joins Democratic Field for President

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee in 2012

Governor Chafee-cc

John Burger - published on 06/04/15 - updated on 06/08/17

Republican-turned-Democrat joins Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley

As of Wednesday, Hillary Clinton has even more competition for the Democratic nomination for president. But, according to some commentators, not much.

Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Democrat, announced June 3 that he is running for the White House in 2016, joining a small field of candidates that also includes former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

USA Today called Chafee’s effort a "long-shot long-shot campaign focused so far on one major issue: Hillary Clinton’s 2002 vote for the Iraq War."

The son of the late Sen. John Chafee, Lincoln Chafee was the only Republican in 2002 to vote against authorizing the use of force in Iraq. 

According to USA Today, Chafee, 62, pledged in his announcement speech to "re-invigorate" the United Nations, cut back on National Security Agency surveillance programs, restrict the use of drones, and end "ambassadorships for sale." He also pledged to adopt the metric system.

"We have to find a way to wage peace," he said.

On the issues, Chafee has a mixed record vis a vis stands taken by the Catholic Church. In 2010, when he was still the Republican governor of Rhode Island, one of the most Catholic states in the Union, Chafee signed a same-sex "marriage" bill into law. Chafee supports establishing guest-worker programs with a path toward citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.

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. He also supported federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

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