14 Things You Should Know About Lincoln Chafee, Who Just Announced He's Running For President

He's served in office as a Republican and Independent, but will he be the 2016 Democratic candidate?

Lincoln Chafee just announced he's running for president, throwing his name into the significantly smaller pile of candidates hoping to receive the Democratic nomination for 2016.

He'll face off against Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley in the next year to prove he's right for the party ... but is Chafee the candidate for you?

  1. He's a Democrat from Rhode Island.

    Chafee has identified (and ran with) a few different parties during his career: He started as a Republican, shifted to Independent and later became a Democrat.

  2. ...And he's been on just about every level on the state's government.

    Chafee served as Mayor of Warwick from 1992-1999, a senator from 1999 until 2007, and was governor from 2011 until 2015.

  3. He has a wife and three kids.

    Chafee and his wife, Stephanie, got married in 1990. They have three kids: Louisa, Caleb and Thea.

  4. Politics is the family business.

    Chafee's father, John Chafee, was the senator from Rhode Island until he died in 1999 (and his son was appointed to his seat).

  5. He's big on separation between church and state.

    There have been several occasions where Chafee has stood for keeping religious ceremonies and traditions away from government affairs: He skipped his regular Episcopalian church service on his inauguration day as governor and he called the tree they put up in the Rhode Island State House a "holiday tree" to better represent all the people of the state. (And people still called him a Grinch.)

  6. He supports same-sex marriage.

    Rhode Island legalized same-sex marriage while Chafee was governor and he's been an advocate for the cause ever since.

  7. He supports abortion rights and thinks those rights should remain a federal decision.

    Chafee believes women should be the ones to make their reproductive choices. He's also warned that leaving abortion policies in the hands of states would leave poor women at a severe disadvantage. That's because only women would money would have enough cash to travel to clinics.

  8. He doesn't think public schools are that bad.

    Citing the number of successful public school graduates attending competitive colleges in his home state of Rhode Island, Chafee said in an interview with that he doesn't think the American Public School Systems are failing. He agrees there's always "room for improvement," but he doesn't think the system is in shambles.

  9. He's against mass data collection by the NSA.

    Chafee was very happy with the recent ruling against the parts of the Patriot Act that allowed the government to collect phone records en masse. And unlike many of his contemporaries, he also thinks expat whistle-blower Edward Snowden deserves to come back to the United States without being arrested.

  10. He's against the death penalty.

    Chafee is really not in favor of capital punishment and has worked to increase the opportunity for appeals for people on death row. He also believes that DNA analysis should be mandatory in any case where the death penalty is being considered.

  11. He pulled a #throwback write-in for the 2004 election.

    In 2004, Chafee (as a Republican senator) did not vote for George W. Bush's second term. Instead he wrote in the name of Bush's father: George H. W. Bush.

  12. He could probably beat you in a fight.

    Chafee was the captain of the wrestling team when he was at school at Brown. We wouldn't mess with him.

  13. He doesn't take the decision to go to war lightly.

    In his 2012 speech at the Democratic National Convention, Chafee said, "We take seriously the decision to enter into foreign entanglements. During the last Administration, then-Senator Obama and I shared a mutual desire to end the prevailing attitude of arrogance and recklessness on matters of war and peace that characterized those years."

  14. He used to work as a blacksmith.

    Maybe if the whole politics thing doesn't work out, he and former-carpenter Bernie Sanders could go into business together.