Rhode Islanders let loose a collective “Really?” when our somewhat less than charismatic one-term Governor Lincoln Chafee announced that he was exploring a run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. The early April timing of the announcement led some to believe that it was perhaps some sort of belated April Fool’s gag. However, Chafee, like many successful Rhode Islanders, garners more respect and appreciation beyond our borders than within them. While some Ocean State residents associate him with a largely underwhelming governorship, perhaps best remembered for the infamous “holiday tree” fiasco, a closer look at his record reveals that Chafee is often on the right side of the truly important issues. He vocally opposed the 38 Studios deal, and was the only Republican senator to vote against the war in Iraq. What makes his candidacy most compelling is the fact that he’s smart, unfazed by which way the political winds are blowing and really has nothing to lose – all appealing qualities for Democratic voters wary of a Clinton coronation. Someone’s got to hold the frontrunner’s feet to the fire on the tough questions, and Linc is a man with no qualms about asking them.
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