It’s Official: Governor Lincoln Chafee is Now a Democrat

by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

 “Get it right?” Asked Governor Chafee. “Yeah, Democrat!  Ok you are all set,” said the elections clerk.

And with that, Governor Chafee became a Democrat.

After signing his voter registration card and party affiliation, the deal was done.

Then, in a symbolic move, he spoke from his old Warwick City Council desk. where his career began.

Governor Lincoln Chafee (D-Rhode Island) said, “There's going to a lot made about what I'm doing here today – changing my political affiliation – but nothing has changed of how I have faced doing my job as a public servant. Nothing has changed since the day I sat at this desk.”

The Governor says the switch was because his political views are more in line with democrats, and not to better position himself for re–election.

Some political analysts are not buying it.

Dr. Kay Israel, Professor of Political Communication at Rhode Island College said, “It's tactical in the sense that he probably thought the Democratic challenge was greater this time. And because of that he couldn't count on getting the 34 or 35 percent to win the election. So that part was tactical.”

That means the Democratic primary in September next year, could overshadow the general election.

That's especially true if State Treasurer Gina Raimondo gets into the democratic race, along with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

But Chafee would not say if a three–way primary would weaken his new party, giving other parties a better chance at winning.

ABC6 Reporter Mark Curtis asked, “A Republican could possibly win this?

Governor Chafee responded, “You're as a good a guesser, a prognosticator as I am on all this. We've all been observers of the political process for a long time, so we all have an equal say in how things are going to unfold. Your guess is as good as mine.”

Chafee has not officially announced a re-election bid, but said a formal declaration should come soon.