Once 90 percent sure of running for the U.S. Senate, former U.S. Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee is giving a run a second thought.
Last Tuesday, Chafee said that he was going to have an announcement “soon” and that he was in the “high nineties” for a chance of running.
But Chafee said this Tuesday that, “When I made the initial announcement it took a lot of people by surprise, and as I digest the feedback I want to take the time to make the right decision.”
Chafee said he might take weeks to decide, but that the “real deadline” is the filing deadline at the end of June.
Chafee plans to commission comprehensive polls that will test both his position relative to incumbent Sheldon Whitehouse in Rhode Island and voter feelings about the issues Chafee wants to make the mainstays of his campaign, such as Whitehouse’s position on the proposed Burrillville power plant, warrant-less wiretapping, and the Sanders-Lee Resolution, which seeks to take war authorization away from the office of the president.
“We’re moving with a sense of urgency,” said Chafee of the polls he wants to commission. “We’re talking to different pollsters, and a lot of polling will be on the issues.”
While a run for governor was once thought to be in the cards for Chafee, he said he’s only considering a Senate run, not a run for governor.
News outlets have reported Chafee’s position on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying he would not support defending the Special Counsel from a presidential firing.
But Chafee said, “I’d let the investigation go forward. I’ve always been steadfast on that. That’s been my constant point.”
The former senator also had concerns that Democrats might be playing into Republicans’ hands with a possible Trump impeachment through the Mueller investigation, and that many Republicans might prefer Mike Pence in 2020 over Donald Trump.
He also voiced gripes with the Democratic National Committee, an institution that he said “gave us a nominee that lost.”
“Reform the DNC,” said Chafee. “It was a flawed process and gave us Democrats a candidate that didn’t win. Trump won 305 207, it wasn’t like it was close.”
He’s concerned about the prevalence of superdelegates and closed primaries. Superdelegates are delegates given a vote in the nomination process even though they weren't selected through a primary vote, while in a closed primary only those affiliated with the party are allowed to vote. Independent and unaffiliated voters are excluded.