Lincoln Chafee


Lincoln Chafee
Lincoln Chafee
74th Governor of Rhode Island
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 4, 2011
Lieutenant Elizabeth Roberts
Preceded by Donald Carcieri
United States Senator
from Rhode Island
In office
November 2, 1999 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by John Chafee
Succeeded by Sheldon Whitehouse
Mayor of Warwick
In office
1992–1999
Preceded by Charles J. Donovan
Succeeded by Scott Avedisian
Personal details
Born March 26, 1953 (1953-03-26) (age 58)
Providence, Rhode Island
Political party Independent (2007–present)
Other political
affiliations
Republican Party (Before 2007)
Spouse(s) Stephanie Chafee
Alma mater Brown University
Profession Farrier
Religion Episcopal

Lincoln Davenport Chafee (play /ˈf/ chay-fee; born March 26, 1953) is an American politician who has been the 74th Governor of Rhode Island since January 2011. 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.[1] 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 re-elected in the 2000 Senate election for a full six-year term.

Chafee was a supporter of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential bid. On January 4, 2010, Chafee declared his intent to run for Governor of Rhode Island.[2] Prior to entering the gubernatorial race, he was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies.

Contents

Early life, education, and early career

Chafee was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of John Chafee and Virginia Coates.[3] 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.

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.[4]

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.

U.S. Senate

After his father announced he would not seek re-election in 2000, Lincoln Chafee announced he would run for the seat.[5] When John Chafee died suddenly in October 1999, Gov. Lincoln Almond appointed the younger Chafee to serve out the term.

2000 re-election campaign

He was elected to a full six-year term in 2000, defeating Democratic candidate then-U.S. Representative Robert Weygand by a 57 percent to 41 percent margin in the heavily Democratic state.

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. Laffey was considered a formidable challenger, as he was much more conservative than Chafee. Among other stances totally opposite those of Chafee's, Laffey was pro-life and against embryonic stem cell research. Laffey was heavily supported by notable conservative groups, including the Club for Growth and several Ohio-based pro-life 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 unaffiliated voters and disaffiliated Democrats for his victory.[6]

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, Whitehouse pointed out that Chafee supported his party's more conservative leadership.

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, he replied: "To be honest, yes."[7]

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 has Chafee leading a student group studying U.S. foreign policy.[8]

In the summer 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 spending cuts in programs which assisted the middle- and low-income people, such as Pell Grants and Head Start.[9] In February 2008, he said he was considering voting for Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary.[10] On February 14, with the Rhode Island Democratic primary approaching in three weeks, Chafee officially endorsed Obama.[11]

In 2008, Chafee joined the advisory board of J Street, a lobbying group that promotes diplomatic relations between Israel and its neighbors, and supports an independent Palestinian state.[12]

In September 2008, Chafee received significant media attention for describing Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska and the Republican vice-presidential nominee in the 2008 United States presidential election, as a "cocky wacko".[13]

2010 gubernatorial candidacy

On January 4, 2010 Chafee formally declared his intention to run for Governor of Rhode Island in 2010 as an independent, [14] 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%.[15] Likewise, other sites, such as the Cook Political Report, classified the race as a "toss-up".[16] Chafee's approval rating at the time of his 2006 defeat was between 51% and 63%.[17][18]

On September 16, 2010, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg 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."[19] On November 2, 2010, Chafee won the gubernatorial race, winning with a 35.9% plurality in the seven-candidate race.

Political positions

Abortion

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. "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," Trainor explained.

Death penalty

  • Chafee opposes the death penalty, and has consistently voted against limiting federal death penalty appeals, has favored including racial statistics in death penalty appeals, and a prerequisite of DNA analysis for all federal executions.

Drug policy

Chafee has shown some willingness to deviate from harsh drug war policies in favor of more lenient approaches.[21]

Education

  • Chafee opposes charter schools, saying, "I am wary of charter schools undermining and cherry picking and skimming off the top of our public school system."[22]
  • Chafee is "wary" of Race to the Top, "because Race to the Top includes money for charter schools".[22] He says he would ask federal officials "what kind of flexibility we might have" to alter Race to the Top, were he elected Governor.[23]
  • On education reform in general, Chafee does not believe 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."[22]
  • Chafee easily won the endorsements of all major public school teachers unions, including the Rhode Island affiliates of the National Education Association[24] and American Federation of Teachers[25] in his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Embryonic stem cell research

Environment

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, Chafee was the only Republican to vote for the Levin amendment calling for a nonbinding timetable for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
  • He voted against the Kerry-Feingold amendment calling for a binding timetable.

Israel

  • 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 voted against both the 2001 and 2003 federal tax cut bills.
  • On November 17, 2005, he was the only Republican to vote in favor of reinstating the top federal income tax rate of 39.6% on upper-income payers.

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 of Chafee's positions that are well within the mainstream of the Republican Party include:

Chafee's liberal stances have led some conservatives to refer to him as a "Republican In Name Only" (RINO).[30] [31] Most notable among these was Human Events magazine, which named Chafee "the No. 1 RINO in the country."[32] 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 to the left of the latter.[33]

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.[34] He has frequently criticized Bush's record on the environment, and also expressed concern about the 2004 Republican platform and the direction of the party. He described the younger Bush's presidency as "an agenda of energizing the far-right-wing base, which is divisive."[35] Soon thereafter, he rejected Democratic overtures to leave the Republican Party after appeals from other Republican senators to remain in their caucus.[36]

Chafee considered challenging Bush for renomination in the New Hampshire primary in 2004 on an antiwar 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.[37]

In 2003, Chafee voted against the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. However, Chafee also cast a crucial procedural vote against a Democratic attempt to kill the bill, which failed by only two votes.[38]

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 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 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.[39] Chafee did not announce his opposition to the nomination until a majority of Senators had already publicly said they would support Alito.[40]

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, which includes voting for a Democrat against him. Ann Coulter has expressed disgust that Bush campaigned for him in the Republican primary against conservative Steve Laffey.[41]

Electoral history

Rhode Island Gubernatorial Election 2010[42]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Independent Lincoln Chafee 123,571 36.1%
Republican John Robitaille 114,911 33.6%
Democratic Frank Caprio 78,896 23.0%
Moderate Ken Block 22,146 6.5%
Independent Joeseph Lusi 1,091 0.3%
Independent Todd Giroux 882 0.3%
Independent Ronald Algieri 793 0.2%
Rhode Island U.S. Senate Election 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Sheldon Whitehouse 206,110 53.47
Republican Lincoln Chafee (incumbent) 179,001 46.44
Rhode Island U.S. Senate Election 2006 - Republican Primary
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lincoln Chafee (incumbent) 34,934 54.17
Republican Steve Laffey 29,556 45.83
Rhode Island U.S. Senate Election 2000
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lincoln Chafee (incumbent) 222,588 56.88
Democratic Robert Weygand 161,023 41.15
Warwick, Rhode Island Mayoral Election 1998
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lincoln Chafee (incumbent) 17,808 57.56
Democratic George Zainyeh 12,323 39.83

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ "Chafee quietly quits the GOP". Projo.com. 2007-09-16. http://www.projo.com/news/content/CHAFEE_GOP_09-16-07_DP751KF.31dd3fe.html. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  2. ^ http://www.projo.com/news/efitzpatrick/edward_fitzpatrick_5_01-05-10_9JH0FGE_v16.3014a12.html
  3. ^ "Chafee family tree". Rootsweb.com. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~battle/senators/chafee.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  4. ^ The Chaffee Genealogy, William Henry Chaffee, 1635–1909, The Grafton Press, New York, 1909. Books.google.com. 2000-09-02. http://books.google.com/books?id=cFc5AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA4&dq=%22daniel+cushing%22+hingham+clerk&lr=&ei=DdhJSYXxE5OeMqGA9fcM. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  5. ^ Murray, Shailagh (April 14, 2006). "A Republican on the Edge". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/13/AR2006041301917.html. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Extra: Election | Rhode Island news | projo.com | The Providence Journal". projo.com. 2006-09-13. http://www.projo.com/extra/election/content/projo_20060913_newgop.37563ed.html. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  7. ^ "Chafee unsure of staying with GOP after losing election - Boston.com". http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2006/11/09/chafee_unsure_of_staying_with_gop_after_losing_election/. [dead link]
  8. ^ Chafee takes fellowship at Brown. December 15, 2006, Providence Journal. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
  9. ^ Former RI Sen. Lincoln Chafee Leaves GOP. September 16, 2007 Associated Press report. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
  10. ^ Ex-Republican Chafee considers voting for Obama in R.I. primary. Mark Arsenault, February 8, 2008 The Providence Journal. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  11. ^ "Former Rhode Island senator endorses Obama". Politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com. 2008-02-14. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/02/14/former-rhode-island-senator-endorses-obama/. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  12. ^ "Supporters". J Street. http://www.jstreet.org/supporters. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  13. ^ The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/washington/AP-Chafee-Palin.html. [dead link]
  14. ^ "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. http://newsblog.projo.com/2009/12/chafee-to-make-it-official-he.html. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  15. ^ "Rhode Island Governor Forecast". Elections.nytimes.com. http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/forecasts/governor/rhode-island. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  16. ^ "Cook Political Report – Governors". Cookpolitical.com. http://www.cookpolitical.com/governors. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  17. ^ by BlueLobster 2007-08-02 10:32AM. "Interviewwith Tom Allen". MyDD. http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/7/27/11938/2973. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  18. ^ "RI Jr Sen Approval". SurveyUSA. http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollTrack.aspx?g=417c7a9d-d8ec-4083-8e80-ca577e486925&x=0,0. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  19. ^ "Update: NY Mayor Bloomberg visits RI, endorses Chafee/ Video – Projo 7 to 7 News Blog | Rhode Island news | The Providence Journal". Newsblog.projo.com. http://newsblog.projo.com/2010/09/ny-mayor-bloomberg-visits-prov.html. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  20. ^ Lincoln Chafee on Abortion OnTheIssues.org
  21. ^ Nadelmann, Ethan (2010-12-27) Breaking the Taboo, The Nation
  22. ^ a b c on September 24, 2010   (2010-09-24). "Lincoln Chafee on Jobs, the RIEDC, Race to the Top and More". Rifuture.org. http://rifuture.org/interview-lincoln-chafee-on-jobs-the-riedc-race-to-the-top-and-more.html. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  23. ^ "3 of 4 candidates for R.I. governor back Gist, Race to the Top, Providence Journal, September 28, 2010". Projo.com. 2010-09-28. http://www.projo.com/news/content/candidates_on_gist_09-28-10_FFK3HIM_v59.230cd9a.html. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  24. ^ on August 25, 2010   (2010-08-25). "The NEARI Endorses Lincoln Chafee". Rifuture.org. http://rifuture.org/the-neari-endorses-linc-chafee-.html. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  25. ^ "RIFT for Chafee". Riteachers4chafee.com. http://riteachers4chafee.com. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  26. ^ "National Gay and Lesbian Task Force salutes U.S. Sen. Russell Feingold for supporting marriage equality". National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. April 4, 2006. http://www.thetaskforce.org/press/releases/pr932_040406. Retrieved July 30, 2010. "As a result of this announcement, Feingold becomes the fourth U.S. senator to support marriage equality, along with Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)." 
  27. ^ "Lincoln Chafee for Senate: Issues2000.org". Ontheissues.org. 2000-02-12. http://www.ontheissues.org/Lincoln_Chafee.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  28. ^ "Lincoln Chafee on Social Security". Ontheissues.org. http://www.ontheissues.org/Economic/Lincoln_Chafee_Social_Security.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  29. ^ "Senate Votes on 2006-080". Ontheissues.org. 2006-03-29. http://www.ontheissues.org/SenateVote/Party_2006-080.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  30. ^ Jill Zuckman (2006-09-13). "GOP favorite wins Rhode Island primary". Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/nation/4182890.html. 
  31. ^ "Sen. Lincoln Chafee Gains GOP Support". Associated Press. NewsMax.com. 2006-09-07. http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/9/6/160800.shtml. 
  32. ^ "Human Events". Human Events. 2005-12-27. http://www.humanevents.com/sarticle.php?id=11129. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  33. ^ [1][dead link]
  34. ^ "The Good 5 Cent Cigar". Ramcigar.com. http://www.ramcigar.com/media/paper366/news/2004/10/05/News/Chafee.Speaks.With.Students.About.Election-741669.shtml. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  35. ^ "Sen. Chafee considers leaving GOP". USA Today. November 3, 2004. http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/ussenate/2004-11-03-ri-chaffee_x.htm#. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  36. ^ CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/11/09/republicans.chafee.ap/. [dead link]
  37. ^ Lincoln Chafee, Against the Tide (2007), p.119-120
  38. ^ "Providence | Local News | M. Charles Bakst". Projo.com. 2003-12-02. http://www.projo.com/news/mcharlesbakst/projo_20031202_mcbcol02.116926.html. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  39. ^ "Chafee says he will vote against Alito - Boston.com". http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2006/01/30/chafee_says_he_will_vote_against_alito/. [dead link]
  40. ^ "Alito Filibuster Fails, Confirmation Vote Expected Tuesday". Fox News. January 31, 2006. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,183204,00.html. 
  41. ^ They Shot the Wrong Lincoln. by Ann Coulter, August 30, 2006. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
  42. ^ "RI.gov: Election Results". Rhode Island Government. November 17, 2010. http://www.ri.gov/election/results/2010/general_election/. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Donovan
Mayor of Warwick
1993–1999
Succeeded by
Scott Avedisian
Preceded by
Donald Carcieri
Governor of Rhode Island
2011–present
Incumbent
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Chafee
United States Senator (Class 1) from Rhode Island
1999–2007
Served alongside: Jack Reed
Succeeded by
Sheldon Whitehouse
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bev Perdue
as Governor of North Carolina
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Peter Shumlin
as Governor of Vermont

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