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Update, Oct. 23, 2015: Lincoln Chafee has decided to end his 2016 presidential bid.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee will today announce that he is seeking the 2016 presidential nomination of Democratic Party.

Chafee, a former Republican-turned independent-turned Democrat, is trying to contrast himself with Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the party’s nomination, by stressing his 2002 vote against the war with Iraq, which Clinton supported as a senator.

By running, he’s taking on a political juggernaut with much higher name recognition and fundraising resources.

Chafee himself hails from a prominent New England political family and has shown in the past that he’s not afraid to dip into his own financial reserves on the campaign trail.

Here’s more about the political and financial history of this 62-year-old who’s developed a reputation over the years for his contrarian views.

  • Lincoln Chafee, who is running against Hillary Clinton, is a former Republican-turned independent-turned Democrat.
  • Lincoln Chafee comes from a prominent political family. He was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1999 following the death of his father Sen. John Chafee.
  • Lincoln Chafee was the only Republican in the U.S. Senate to vote against the 2002 resolution that authorized the U.S.-led war against Iraq.
  • Lincoln Chafee both endorsed and financially supported Barack Obama’s presidential bids in 2008 and 2012 — to the tune of $7,300.
  • As governor, Lincoln Chafee worked with Common Cause Rhode Island to pass a law to provide more information about who’s behind political ads.
  • Lincoln Chafee was one of the wealthiest senators while in office, with an estimated net worth of about $43 million.
  • Roughly $1 out of every $5 Lincoln Chafee raised for his failed 2006 re-election campaign came from his own pocket.
  • A top source of campaign funds for Chafee during his time in Congress that won’t be available in 2016: GOP leadership PACs.
  • Ocean State delight: Of the top 10 ZIP codes for Lincoln Chafee’s Senate campaign contributors, 9 were in Rhode Island, per the Center for Responsive Politics.

Carrie Levine contributed to this report.

Sources: Center for Public Integrity reporting, as well as the Center for Responsive Politics, Federal Election Commission, Providence Business News, U.S. Senate and Wikipedia

Image sources: Save the Bay/Flickr, Cancilleria Del Ecuador/Flick, Lincoln Chafee/Facebook


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Michael Beckel

Michael Beckel reported for the Center for Public Integrity from 2012 to 2017.