There was a moment in last week’s debate for Democratic presidential candidates in which Lincoln Chafee was asked about his 1999 vote on Wall Street reforms, in which he voted for the very policies he now opposes. “The Glass-Steagall was my very first vote,” he replied. “I’d just arrived, my dad had died in office, I was appointed to the office, it was my very first vote.”
Anderson Cooper wasn’t altogether impressed: “Are you saying you didn’t know what you were voting for? … What does that say about you that you’re casting a vote for something you weren’t really sure about?”
Chafee replied, “I think you’re being a little rough.”
It was a rather brutal exchange, which would have had a greater impact were it not for the fact that Chafee wasn’t a competitive candidate. Indeed, as of this morning, he’s no longer a candidate at all.
Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee pulled out of the 2016 presidential race after failing to gain any traction in the Democratic primary field.Chafee announced his plans at a Democratic women’s event in Washington Friday morning. “As you know I have been campaigning on a platform of Prosperity Through Peace. But after much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today,” he said.
At last week’s debate, there were five candidates on the stage. As of this morning, only three of them are still in the race, following former Sen. Jim Webb’s withdrawal earlier this week.
Chafee arguably didn’t stand a chance in the race for the Democratic nomination, but he did offer the most diverse background of any candidate in either party. After all, Chafee has been a mayor, a governor, and a senator, in addition to having been a Republican, an Independent, and a Democrat.
And while that’s certainly a unique c.v., it wasn’t necessarily a recipe for national success. As we discussed when he launched his long-shot bid in June, Chafee, who didn’t become a Democrat until 2013, isn’t well known; he hasn’t built any real campaign infrastructure; he left office last year deeply unpopular in his home state; and he’s struggled to raise money. Recent polling showed Chafee polling at around 0%.
Under the circumstances, walking away seems like the right call.
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Chafee withdraws, Democratic field shrinks