Lincoln Chafee drops out of Democratic primary race

Posted at 1:09 PM, Oct 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-23 13:09:22-04

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee ended his long-shot bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, he announced Friday.

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

The Democrat declared his presidential campaign in June, shortly after announcing that he had formed an exploratory committee.

One of the reasons Chafee decided to drop out now: Hillary Clinton had “a good week,” he said, one where former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb dropped out of the race, Vice President Joe Biden declined to run and she withstood hours of testimony on Capitol Hill.

“Obviously it was a good week for Secretary Clinton,” Chafee told reporters after his speech. “She did well in the debates and then Senator Webb got out, Vice President Biden declined to join the race, she did well in the Benghazi hearing and Gov. Chafee got out of the race.”

Chafee has spent most of his life as a Republican. He was nominated to his late father’s Senate seat in 1999 and then was elected as a Republican in 2000. He served only one term, losing to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006, but then successfully ran for governor of Rhode Island as an independent.

Chafee said on Friday that the most memorable moment of his campaign was getting to speak to audiences in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the moment that received the most press was his call to the United States to return to the metric system.

The former governor stood by the decision after he dropped out.

“I stand by that. That was part,” Chafee said, emphasizing the word part, “of no drone strikes, fair trade, ending capital punishment, not diplomats that are political donors, bringing Snowden home.”

“I wish it was put into context of all the other issues that I brought up at the time,” he said. “It was a long list. Metric was one of the 10.”

Chafee has been one of the most aggressive candidates against frontrunner Hillary Clinton, calling her out at multiple times about her 2002 vote in favor of the Iraq War.

“Considering the premise for invading Iraq was based on falsehoods and considering the ramifications we live with now from that mistake, I would argue that anybody who voted for the Iraq War should not be president and certainly should not be leading the Democratic Party,” he said in an interview with CNN earlier this year.

Chafee was never supremely confident in his chances to win the nomination. When asked by CNN in April if he would bet on himself to win, he simply responded, “I can’t,” before catching himself and saying that he is “in it to win.”