Obama welcomes former Republican Lincoln Chafee to Democratic Party

Updated
Chafee
Chafee

President Obama welcomed Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee to the Democratic Party on Wednesday after the Republican-turned-Independent announced he would be formally registering as a Democrat.

“I’m delighted to hear that Governor Chafee is joining the Democratic Party,” Obama said in a statement. ”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.”

“I’m thrilled to welcome Linc to the party of Jefferson and Jackson, Roosevelt and Kennedy–and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead,” he added.

Chafee, who began his political career as a Republican before running for governor as an Independent, backed Obama in both the 2008 and 2012 elections. He served in the Senate from 1999 to 2007, when he was a Republican, but parted ways with the vast majority of his fellow GOP colleagues on issues including the Iraq war and support for President George W. Bush.

He became an Independent before running for Governor of Rhode Island in 2010.

Chafee is the second prominent Republican to recently switch to the Democratic party. Florida’s Charlie Crist made the same journey (Republican to Independent to Democrat) late last year.

Read Obama’s welcoming statement in its entirety:

“I’m delighted to hear that Governor Chafee is joining 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. 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. Creating good jobs that pay good wages. Access to health care that’s there for you when you get sick. An affordable college education even if you’re not rich. An economy that rewards hard work, no matter who you are, what you look like, or who you love. And above all, a fair shot to leave our kids a better life than we’ve known.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Linc to the party of Jefferson and Jackson, Roosevelt and Kennedy – and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”

Obama welcomes former Republican Lincoln Chafee to Democratic Party

Updated