- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 29, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Former Democratic presidential candidate and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee won’t run for office in 2018 after all.

Chafee made the announcement in a tweet Tuesday morning, after saying last month that he was considering a primary challenge against Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Chafee was a Republican in 2006 when Whitehouse defeated him for the seat.

He told The Associated Press that a Senate race is a large undertaking and he has decided to sit this one out.

Chafee had been previously considering a run for the governor’s office he held for one term. He surprised almost everyone in the state when he announced he was looking at the Senate instead.

The Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat said many factors went into the decision not to run, including electability. But he said he’d been through enough campaigns to know that you can close a gap.

Asked whether he had spoken to Whitehouse while he was considering a run, Chafee said no. The two men’s families have been tied for generations - their fathers roomed together at Yale and their sons are friends. Chafee’s father, John Chafee, was also a Rhode Island governor and U.S. senator.

“We haven’t run into each other, which is odd for Rhode Island,” he told the AP.

He declined to elaborate on his future plans but said he would likely remain involved with politics.

“I’ve been around politics since I was the 3 years old,” said Chafee. “So I think that’s just in my blood.”

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