Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee completed his trip across the partisan spectrum when the now-governor of Rhode Island officially switched to the Democratic Party.
Chafee was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998 as a Republican, lost re-election to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006, became an Independent, and was elected governor of the Ocean State in 2010. He faces an uncertain re-election race next year.
As Ted Nesi of WPRI (via Rhode Island Politics in Stereo) points out, the switch is not particularly surprising:
Politically, Chafee has been a Democrat in all but name for a long time now – in 2012 he not only co-chaired President Obama’s re-election campaign and spoke at the Democratic National Convention, he even endorsed Sheldon Whitehouse’s bid for the very U.S. Senate seat he took from Chafee in 2006.
But since Chafee had been an Independent, two formidable Democrats — State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras — were already jockeying for the Democratic nomination. The governor’s decision could make for one of the most competitive primaries anywhere in the country. Full story