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2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign: Lincoln Chafee

Lincoln Chafee is a former Senator and Governor from Rhode Island, and former Democratic candidate for President in the 2016 election. Chafee was born in Providence, Rhode Island on March 26, 1953, and is the son of former Rhode Island Governor John Chafee, who served from 1963 - 1969. His father went on to become the U.S. Secretary of the Navy following his term as Governor, and was then elected Rhode Island's Senator.

Chafee attended undergraduate at Brown University and then moved to Montana where for a time he studied to become a farrier, a specialist in horse hoof care. He moved back to Rhode Island to enter the world of politics as a Republican, and in 1985 joined Rhode Island's Constitutional Convention. From there he was elected to the City Council of Warwick, Rhode Island, and was subsequently elected Mayor in 1992. He was appointed to his father's Senate seat by Rhode Island's Governor after his death in 1999, and won a full term during the 2000 election. While serving as a Senator he was known as one of the most liberal Republicans, oftentimes holding views consistent with the Democratic caucus. He voted to increase taxes for the wealthiest Americans, voted against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, voted to increase minimum wage, and was the only Republican Senator to vote against the Authorization for the use of Military Force in Iraq. Chafee is in favor of same-sex marriage, a woman's right to choose, and stricter gun control.

He won his party's nomination for Senate in Rhode Island, but lost to the Democratic candidate during the 2006 election. Upon leaving office in 2007 he also left the Republican party and registered as an Independent. Chafee was supportive of President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. In 2010 Chafee ran for Governor of Rhode Island as an Independent and defeated the Democrat and Republican candidates, becoming Rhode Island's first Independent Governor since 1790. He served as co-chair of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign in 2012, and announced that he was switching to the Democratic party in May 2013. Chafee has a net worth upwards of $40 million.

Chafee formally announced he was seeking the Democratic nomination for President during the 2016 election on June 3, 2015. Chafee is a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, and favors a de-escalation of U.S. involvement in Foreign Affairs.

U.S. - Israel Relationship

  • “I am unmovable on the point that the security of the state of Israel is paramount. Everything I have said and will say on the subject has as its ultimate aim the long-term security interests of our ally Israel.”
    (Speech at Brown University, February 12, 2007)
  • “A firm U.S. commitment to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is a critical component of the U.S. effort to bring any semblance of peace and stability to Iraq. And President Bush said as much before the war even started.”
    (Speech at Brown University, February 12, 2007)


  • “Of course, we should be talking with [Iran]. That’s what we did right during the Cold War: talking with China, talking with Russia….That’s the right way to make peace..”
    (MSNBC, April 10, 2015)
  • Today we've done much to encourage a flat-out arms race among countries that feel they need nuclear weapons to defend their borders. A wiser White House and Congress would have put out this message instead: We're no longer constrained by the Cold War with the former Soviet Union, but we still respect every country's sovereign right to govern its own territory and resources.”
    (The Huffington Post, June 5, 2008)

Hamas and the Situation in Gaza

  • Chafee referred to Hamas as a, “violent organization with a genocidal charter.”
    (Speech at Brown University, February 12, 2007)

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • Chafee serves on the Advisory Council of J Street, a liberal American Jewish non-profit organization that pushes for a 2-state solution including total Israel withdrawal from all occupied territories.
  • Chafee is opposed to the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank
    (Providence Journal, April 2006)
  • “How can anyone argue that progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is not better than the status quo in terms of Israel’s long-term security?”
    (Speech at Brown University, February 12, 2007)
  • “How can negotiations on the path to peace happen unless and until Hamas changes its charter to renounce its mission to eradicate Israel? Or what if we were to negotiate, and Hamas actually were to deliver results? Then we will have empowered them, an absolutely untenable outcome.”
    (Speech at Brown University, February 12, 2007)