Lincoln Chafee Readies Independent Campaign for Governor

Writing in the Boston Globe, former Providence Journal reporter Mark Arsenault has a comprehensive look at former Senator Lincoln Chafee’s independent bid for Governor.

John Holmes Jr., former Rhode Island Republican Party chairman, believes Chafee has a chance to make history as an independent.

“All bets are off in this election because Linc Chafee is not your normal independent candidate,’’ he said. Chafee’s assets include the well-known political name, great family wealth, proven ability to raise money, and the sense among many that his 2006 defeat was more about party politics than anything personal.

“Some people feel like they owe him a vote,’’ Holmes said.

“This is a smart move on Linc’s part,’’ said University of Vermont political science professor Garrison Nelson. “New England’s robust tradition of electing independents should work for him.’’

Nelson noted that Maine has elected two independent governors in the past three decades, James Longley and Angus King; Connecticut elected Republican-turned-independent Lowell Weicker as governor in 1990, and embraced Senator Joe Lieberman’s independent candidacy for reelection in 2006. Vermont’s junior senator, Bernie Sanders, is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

Certainly, many Democrats and Independents appreciate Chafee’s anti-war vote and his early support and advocacy for Barack Obama in the Democratic primary.  However, others remain wary of the influence of longtime Republicans like Holmes, quoted above, on a possible Chafee administration.

Meanwhile, East Bay attorney Richard Humphrey and his wife are hosting a fundraiser for Chafee this Friday, July 24 from 9:00am to 11:00am at the Sakonnet Point Club (11 Bluff Head Avenue in Little Compton).  The (funky) ticket – available here – has a suggested donation of $250.

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