Lincoln Chafee Apparently Thinking Of Running For President For Some Reason

Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee is apparently considering running for President:

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced that he is considering a campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president.

The 62-year old former U.S. Senator and governor said in an interview that he wants to give Democratic voters a choice for president. “The Republicans have lots of choices, I feel that Democratic voters deserve choices too.”

Chafee said the launch of his exploratory committee will be made via videos posted on his website,

“Throughout my career, I exercised good judgment on a wide range of high-pressure decisions, decisions that require level-headedness and careful foresight,” said Chafee. “Often these decisions came in the face of political adversity. During the next weeks and months I look forward to sharing with you my thoughts about the future of our great country.”

Tim Murphy makes this observation:

Lincoln Chafee, of the Rhode Island Chafees, won’t be the next president, although he does enter the Democratic primary with strong name recognition among people who use “summer” as a verb. Chafee’s father, great-great grandfather, and great-great uncle all previously served as governor of the state. Lincoln ran for the family seat only after losing his spot in the Senate in 2006 to Sheldon Whitehouse (of the Rhode Island Whitehouses), whose father had roomed with Chafee’s father at some college in New Haven before entering the diplomatic corps (like his father before him).

While Philip Bump notes that, for a guy thinking of running for President, Chafee’s website isn’t anything to write home about:

If you visit Chafee’s website,, you’ll notice the prominent placement of an appeal to buy his book right on the main page. You have to scroll down a little bit, sure, but there it is: a plug for “Against the Tide,” coupled with a large, green “Buy the book” button. On every other page of the site, too: two little boxes. One, a stark pitch for donations, the text of which reads simply “Put your trust in Lincoln Chafee to run for President.” And not-too-far underneath it, a book plug, with a picture of the book and the blurb, “Chafee’s insights reveal a deep understanding of American politics as well as uncanny predictions for our world.”

Seems to me — and I’m just one lonely guy, spitballing ideas here — that a real contender for the presidency might put a bit more effort into the “give me money so I can actually win this thing” than the “buy my book.”

Bump also notes that Chafee’s website seems to have only one endorsement from a fellow Democrat, and it’s from Robert Byrd, who has been dead for five years.

Along with people like George Pataki on the Republican side, Chafee seems to be one of those people who is apparently thinking of running for President largely because he can’t think of anything better to do for the next year or so.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Kylopod says:

    Well, next to Hillary Clinton (67), Liz Warren (65), and Joe Biden (72), maybe he feels he has to represent the youth vote.

  2. de stijl says:

    President of what? Hairclub for Men?

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Well, c’mon….we can’t complain that Clinton is running unopposed AND denigrate anyone that chooses to challenge her.
    And honestly…say what you will…I’d still vote for him before Paul, Cruz, or Walker.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    Lincoln Chafee? Who ordered that? Has he got a book?

    Apparently you can make good money pretending to run for president these days. Maybe I’ll try it myself. No one’s ever heard of me, but that makes my name recognition only what, two percent, lower than Chafee’s. That perennial candidate – who?

  5. Scott says:

    If the criteria for serious consideration by media is treated the same for Ds and Rs, and if everybody with a whim runs for President and gets subsequent attention, then why the heck not. Makes as much sense as Paul, Cruz, Carson, Rubio, etc.

  6. Moosebreath says:

    I’m on record here as saying I want someone, anyone to run against Hillary, as otherwise the Republicans will get all the media attention. Lincoln Chafee isn’t it, though.

  7. Trumwill says:

    I’m holding out to see if Charlie Crist is running.

  8. Trumwill says:

    @Moosebreath: Does O’Malley count?

  9. al-Ameda says:

    Does Chafee know that Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead?

  10. Moosebreath says:


    “Does O’Malley count?”

    Yes — I have even used him as an example.

  11. Gromitt Gunn says:

    O’Malley’s got a Catch-22 regarding 2016 presidential aspirations. If he isn’t smart enough to realize that he would be a lock for the Senate seat being vacated, he’s not smart enough to be President.

  12. TheoNott says:

    You know, Mark Dayton, the Governor of Minnesota, should really think about getting into the race. Not only is he an across-the-board progressive, he has a record of successfully implementing his views. He can point to Minnesota’s economy, which is doing great, considerably better than Walker’s Wisconsin. Furthermore, he’s now won two races in a moderate Midwestern state (that has generally elected GOP governors in recent times) in the face of national Republican landslides. Aside from Hillary, he’s a good a candidate as anybody the Democrats have. He’d be a far stronger contender than the overrated Elizabeth Warren, TBH.

  13. C. Clavin says:

    Some unknown is poised to challenge Chaffee this weekend.
    Clinton…or something like that.
    Anyone heard of him/her???

  14. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    I think he might be playing the long game. Run a low stakes campaign that helps him build a campaign structure in key states, ups his name recognition (none now, but if he stays in he’ll be guaranteed spots on the very empty debate stage, and national media coverage), and if he can put at least some pressure on Clinton, he sets himself up for some sort of cabinet or party spot (too bad he’s in too small of a state for VP) in which he can keep his candidacy warm for 8 years.

  15. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I think in that case you’d want to find a reference from someone who isn’t like, y’know, DEAD.

    I guffawed when I saw that. Doug, are you sure you didn’t lift an article from The Onion?

  16. Franklin says:

    Some people would vote for him just because his name is Lincoln. Possibly even one of the regulars here.

  17. Thomas Weaver says:

    Besides being the youngest of the possible dimmowatt contenders, he is without a doubt the blandest. Probably wouldn’t have a E-mail problem with him; however, his quickness is liken to a land turtle. Other then having nothing to talk about for the last six years – it might be a prestigious move on his part to use the submarine motto: Run swift, deep, and stay away from gaffes.