WASHINGTON, DC — Former Warwick mayor, RI senator and governor Lincoln Chafee’s Wyoming move hasn’t dulled his political ambition or plasticity, his federal filing as a 2020 libertarian presidential candidate shows.
Chafee’s Federal Elections Commission filing establishes Chafee’s principal campaign committee as a libertarian, the fourth political affiliation adopted by him and the second since his unsuccessful 2016 run in the Democratic presidential primary against Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. He has also adopted independent and Republican affiliations as RI governor in 2010 and as senator from 1999 – 2007, respectively. Chafee was the only Republican in the Senate to vote against authorization of the use of force in Iraq in the lead-up to the Iraq War.
The filing, dated Jan. 5, 2020, notes the mailing address for the committee at a P.O. Box in Teton Village, Wyo. and lists a Wyoming bank. But Chafee’s campaign manager, Christopher Thrasher, is listed as a Providence resident, and the committee treasurer, Caswell Cooke, Jr. is a Westerly resident.
The filing also lists a campaign website, lincolnforliberty.com, a so-far sparsely worded space, with a banner headline reading “Lincoln Leads With Truth.” Smaller type above several donation links reads, “End The Wars. End The Reckless Spending. Protect Our Freedoms. Tell The Truth.”
In 2016, Chafee faced an uphill battle for the Democratic nomination for president with low fundraising and low popular support, polling at under 1 percent nationally. He ended his bid in October 2015.
“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. I would like to take this opportunity one last time to advocate for a chance be given to peace,” Chafee’s speech read.
Despite local and national media’s preoccupation with what a profile by Phil Eil on Salon.com described as the “heroic weirdness,” of a man who famously argued over referring to the state’s annual Christmas decoration as a “Holiday Tree,” Chafee’s 2016 platform addressed issues that remain serious concerns for Americans:
- Chafee supported raising the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over three years, to establish a living wage while expressing deference to small business concerns.
- Chafee is a rare figure of compromise on immigration reform. He was one of nine sponsors of the bi-partisan McCain-Kennedy bill (S.1033-Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act), the basis of the successful Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006.
- Chafee disagrees with the US Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United ruling stating that money equals speech, allowing near-unlimited influence by the wealthy and corporations via campaign contributions. Rather than support a Constitutional amendment, Chafee pledges to appoint justices who will revisit and overturn the ruling.