Lincoln Chafee ends 2016 presidential run

He saw the writing on the wall.


Kevin Collier


Published Oct 23, 2015   Updated May 27, 2021, 6:31 pm CDT

Lincoln Chafee isn’t going to be the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, either.

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Chafee, the former governor of and senator from Rhode Island, conceded the race in a speech on Friday.

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“As you know I have been campaigning on a platform of Prosperity Through Peace. But after much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today,” Chafee told attendees of the Women’s Leadership Forum on Friday morning. “I would like to take this opportunity one last time to advocate for a chance be given to peace.”

“After much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today.”

Chafee never had much of a chance. Even after the first Democratic debate the week before, he was only polling around 2 percent. Still, that was a massive improvement over the summer, when at least one poll couldn’t find a single person who would vote for him.

Perhaps more than at any other time during the first round of the Democratic debates, Chafee distinguished himself by being the sole member to indicate he would pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden if elected. Even Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, a longstanding critic of the USA Patriot Act, which provided the legal basis for some of the National Security Agency programs Snowden revealed, said Snowden “did break the law, and I think there should be a penalty to that.”

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Unlike former Virginia Gov. Jim Webb, who dropped out on Tuesday, Chafee gave no indication he’d consider running for President as an independent.

With their departure, the Democratic field is almost desperately small. Not only is Webb gone, but Vice President Joe Biden also declined this week to enter the race, citing his family’s grief over the death of his son Beau, who died earlier this year.

That means the second Democratic debate, held in Iowa on Nov. 14 and aired on CBS, will only have three confirmed participants: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sanders, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who’s shared Chafee’s struggles getting recognized. Perhaps CBS will consider letting in Harvard professor and Internet freedom activist Lawrence Lessig, who’s also running on the Democratic ticket but has struggled to gain support from the party.

Photo via Kenneth C. Zirkel/Wikipedia (CC BY SA 3.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: Oct 23, 2015, 12:14 pm CDT