Lincoln Chafee Joins Libertarian Party

Lincoln Chafee, the former senator and governor of Rhode Island, has joined the Libertarian Party.

First reported by the Boston Globe, Lincoln Chafee has reportedly made a move from Rhode Island to Wyoming and registered Libertarian in the process. When asked about whether he would run for some office in the future under the Libertarian Party label, Chafee was non-committal.

Lincoln Chafee was first elected to office as the mayor of Warwick in 1992, a town of about 85,000 people in Rhode Island. He would go on to serve as a Republican senator, independent governor, and ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. One notable vote Chafee made as a Senator was against the bill authorizing the use of force in Iraq.

The timing of Lincoln Chafee’s switch has not gone unnoticed by major media outlets as some are speculating whether he is planning a run for president as a Libertarian. Such a move by a former major party elected official is not unprecedented. Bob Barr, a former representative, did so in 2008 and Gary Johnson, a former governor, did so in 2012 and 2016. Mike Gravel, a former Democratic senator like Chaffee attempted to do so in 2008 but Bob Barr ultimately won the nomination that year.

16 thoughts on “Lincoln Chafee Joins Libertarian Party

  1. dL

    The timing of Lincoln Chafee’s switch has not gone unnoticed by major media outlets as some are speculating whether he is planning a run for president as a Libertarian.

    Which major media outlet is so speculating? The only speculation I’ve seen regarding that is here at IPR.

  2. NewFederalist

    Welcome aboard, Sen/Gov/Mayor Chafee! Since you are now far removed from your power base I can only hope that your intentions are good and that you have finally found your home in your political retirement. TANSTAAFL!

  3. Tony From Long Island

    Good. There is no one credible running for their POTUS nomination so far. Hopefully he will.

    However, I do recall him being VERY underwhelming at the Democratic primary debates 4 years ago. The LP has already had a good guy who couldn’t talk at all as their POTUS candidate twice in a row.

  4. Fernando Mercado

    Chafee was the 5th Most Progressive Democrat running in 2016, and Libertarians would agree with at least half of his Ten Points for Prosperity through Peace…

    No Ambassadorship for Sale
    No Torture
    No warrantless wiretapping
    Bring Edward Snowden home
    No drone strikes
    Fair Trade Agreements
    Reduce Tensions with Russia
    Repair Relations with South America and revisit the War on Drugs
    Ban Capital Punishment
    Go Metric

  5. paulie

    I don’t know if he wants to run for anything, much less to represent a state he just moved to and/or with a party which has never won such an office.

  6. robert capozzi


    If he does, would this be an example of fusionist infiltration of the LP?

  7. paulie

    He was a Democrat more recently than a Republican, so maybe not as much, but the concern with him may be more that he’s wishy-washy, flaky and rudderless. I don’t know that I care all that much tbh. There’s only so much energy I want to spend going over the same thing over and over. I think this one has hit that mark.

  8. robert capozzi


    Thanks for clarifying. Sorry if you find it taxing to elaborate on your narrative about how the LP should eschew former R Shiny Badge holders. It strikes me that LC would be different from, say, BB, given his history.

  9. paulie

    Already elaborated and went back and forth about it enough on other thread(s). You may have interest in discussing it endlessly. I don’t.

  10. Kevin Padfield (former LP pres. speechwriter)

    As I recall Chaffee was one of the strongest anti-gunners in the senate. Unless he’s changed his beliefs I won’t be supporting him either getting the nomination or in the general election.

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