Rhode Island Gov. Chafee becomes a Democrat

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Republican-turned-independent Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has again switched his political affiliation — this time to the Democratic Party.

Mr. Chafee served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican from 1999 until losing his re-election bid in 2006 to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. He left the GOP in 2007 to become an independent before he was elected governor of the Ocean State in 2010.

The governor hasn’t publicly spoken of his switch, but President Obama — in a statement released through the Democratic National Committee — confirmed Wednesday that Mr. Chafee has joined the Democratic Party.

“For nearly 30 years, Linc Chafee has served his beloved Rhode Island as an independent thinker and leader who’s unafraid to reach across party lines to get things done,” said the president.

“I enjoyed working with Linc when he was a Republican in the United States Senate, and I look forward to continuing that collaboration on the issues that matter not just to the Democratic Party, but to every American.”

Mr. Chafee, son of the late U.S. Sen. John Chafee, who also served Rhode Island as governor, told The Associated Press in December that he was considering joining the Democrats to help his chances of winning a second term in the Democratic-leaning state.

“There is no independent governors’ association throwing money around … but there is a Democratic Governors Association,” he said at the time.

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