Less then a week after announcing he was forming a presidential exploratory committee, Lincoln Chafee (D-RI) hinted in a CNN interview this morning that he would be taking the next step of declaring an out-right run for the Democratic nomination. While he didn’t make a formal announcement today, when asked about his reason for criticizing candidate Clinton last week, Chafee responded, “Yes, that’s why I’m running.” In a follow-up to his unintended remarks, Chafee’s spokeswomen confirmed his intentions, saying, “we will file the proper papers”, to make an official declaration.
The former Governor, who left office in January of this year, certainly sounds serious about taking on Hillary Clinton for the nomination. He has been critical of her hawkish approach as Secretary of State, as well as her support for the Iraq war in 2003, on which he said, “she didn’t do her homework.”
Candidate Chafee isn’t only critical of the Democratic front-runner though. More broadly, his motivation for running seems to tie into his abandonment of the G.O.P., the party he served for over seven years in the U.S. Senate. A self-described “liberal Republican”, Chafee lamented President George W. Bush’s policies, which he blames for causing chronic budget deficits, the recession of 2008, and a chaotic Middle East. Chafee says that Republicans have gone so far to the ‘right’ since then that there is no room for moderates like himself who support environmental conservation, social programs, and civil-liberties.
Despite his passion for the issues, Chafee acknowledges that he is a dark-horse candidate, in part because he “will not raise a billion dollars,” to finance his campaign. In 2012, Barack Obama’s campaign raised over $715 million and spent over $1 billion total. Those record numbers are expected to be shattered by both party’s respective nominees in 2016.