Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee won’t run for a second term in 2014, NBC News has confirmed.
Facing what would have been difficult odds for a Republican-turned-Independent-turned Democrat, Chafee announced Wednesday he was abandoning his re-election bid to focus on the remainder of his term.
“I want to devote all my time, all my energy, to the task at hand,” Chafee said, according to the AP, but also didn’t rule out seeking political office again in the future.
The moderate former GOP senator became an independent before his 2010 run for governor, and only narrowly survived a bitter three-way race, elected with just a slim 36% plurality. He announced in May he was officially joining the Democratic Party, hardly a surprise since he endorsed President Obama in 2008 and 2012, and even addressed the Democratic National Convention last summer.
But that political calculation didn’t make his path any easier. The Democratic Governors Association, while welcoming his official switch, made clear they would stay neutral in a primary. Chafee was expected to face off against state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras for the nomination, and he trailed both in fundraising.
The son of former Republican governor and senator John Chafee, the younger politician was appointed to his father’s Senate seat in 1999 after he died in office. He won a full-term in 2000, but was defeated in 2006 by Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.