Lincoln Chaffee Is Kind Of Running For President

Former Rhode Island Senator and Governor, and former Republican, Lincoln Chafee has announced that he is running for the Democratic nomination for President, then his campaign announced that he wasn’t running, at least not yet:

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Thursday on CNN that he’s running for the Democratic nomination for president, just a week after announcing he formed an exploratory committee, his most definitive statement he’s made toward formalizing a 2016 campaign.

“Yes, that’s why I’m running. Because I feel strong about where we’re going as a country,” Chafee told CNN’s “New Day” on Thursday, when asked why he’s been so critical of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Chafee was asked by CNN’s John Berman in the context of having not formally declared his presidential campaign.

Chafee spokeswoman Debbie Rich said Chafee did not declare himself as a candidate for president Thursday, despite saying “that’s why I’m running.”

“We are still in the exploratory committee phase,” she told CNN in a phone interview, adding, “We will file the proper papers to be an official candidate, but that has not happened yet.”

Chafee, a former Republican and former senator,announced he was forming an exploratory committee last week. Chafee’s been differentiating himself from fellow Democratic primary contenders by taking sharp jabs at Clinton, willing to be more critical than would-be challengers former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley or former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb over her vote in Congress to authorize the war in Iraq.

“That was a moment where the premise for going to Iraq was so false that there were weapons of mass destruction; she didn’t do her homework. We live with the ramifications,” Chafee told CNN’s “State of the Union” over the weekend. “You may say that’s 12 years ago — that’s a big motivator for me running. If you show a lack of judgment, lack of doing homework then, what can we expect in the future?”

There’s obviously some legal reason that Chafee’s people don’t want to formally announce the campaign yet, but in any case it seems apparent that he’s going to be entering the race at some point. Why he’s doing so given that he obviously has no chance against Hillary Clinton is a question only he can answer.


FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Quick Takes, 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. michael reynolds says:

    I’m baffled.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    All these non-serious candidates is really beginning to chafe.

  3. Franklin says:

    Link to previous OTB article.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    I for one am glad to have a blacksmith running for the presidency.

  5. Grumpy Realist says:

    Ok, who we have on the Democratic side? There’s Hilary Clinton, Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb, and….?

    Oh c’mon. We gotta have at least five others in the race before we can start making jokes about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves!