Leading Political Experts Analyze Chafee’s Decision
Thursday, September 05, 2013
From political scientists to elected officials - the Chafee announcement sparked reaction and predictions.
Rhode Island native and Senior Editor at The Cook Political Report, Duffy offered her views on today's development.
"At least through the primary, the race was going to be all about Chafee, his record, and his style of governing. Now, the contest takes on all of the characteristics of an open seat. The candidates are going to have to lay out very clear visions for how they would lead the state. At the same time, they are going to have to focus more on each other. Chafee was a very unifying target.
The Brookings Institute Vice President and former Director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown had the following perspective on Chafee's announcement.
"Chafee’s announcement shakes up the race. His exit should be a boon to Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. The two of them occupied similar political real estate so it creates a big opening for him. Look for Taveras to pick up the support of labor, minority, and progressive forces."
The Brown University political professor gave her predicition based on today's events.
"Chafee's departure means that the Democratic Primary becomes a likely battle between Raimondo and Taveras. In the short term Taveras gains because public employee unions will support him.over Raimondo. But longer term the women's vote is now more up for grabs because women were loyal to chafee because of his strong pro choice stance. Now that he is out Ramaindo can try to solidify support among women. It will come down to turnout among women and unions. And of course Latinos are members of both those demographic groups."
The Speaker of the House made the following statement.
"I have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Governor Chafee and I am sure that it will continue throughout the remainder of his term. We worked well together on many important issues, from economic matters and retirement security to education reform and marriage equality. He has always been a true gentleman with great character and compassion. In making his decisions, I am convinced that Governor Chafee always had the best interests of the citizens of the state in mind. I wish him well in his plans beyond the Governor’s office.”
M. Teresa Paiva Weed
The Senate President offered the following comment:
“I have had the privilege of working alongside Governor Chafee throughout his term. He is a sincere leader who has had the courage to address the challenges facing our state, including pension reform and improving the DMV. I appreciate his strong commitment to education, improving our infrastructure, and increasing funding for municipalities. He makes decisions based upon the courage of his convictions to make Rhode Island a better place. I look forward to working with him over the next 16 months, and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
The taxpayer advocacy group OSTPA board member made the following statement.
"Governor Chafee's announcement that he will not seek reelection likely came as a surprise to many people. We imagine that public sector labor's decision on which endorsement to make for the Democratic Primary candidate for the governor's seat just became easier."
The Rhode Island Republican offered his vantage point.
"Governor Chafee's announcement that he will not run for governor in 2014 doesn't help or hurt anyone. If Raimondo and Taveras both run for governor, they'll still be spending much of their war chest against each other. However, Chafee's announcement does pave the way for backroom maneuvering to keep one of them on the sidelines (my guess that person is Taveras). If that happens, then the GOP candidate will need a healthy war chest to even think about winning. Today's news can only be characterized by this one word - shrug.
The Rhode Island native, Providece College graduate, political operative and journalist gave his thoughts.
"At first blush, one would have to say Governor Chafee’s announcement was a surprise, as there was no indication that the Governor was planning to take his hat out of next year’s gubernatorial race. The obvious inference here is that his switch to the Democratic Party, despite all the positive press he received from it, did little to increase his disappointing fundraising ability or his lackluster polling numbers. Going forward, I’m sure many political talking heads will assume this development helps Providence Mayor Angel Taveras because he won’t have to split progressive votes with Chafee, but make no mistake about it: General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is a force to be reckoned with. Given her fundraising prowess, obvious appeal to women voters, and general talent, she should still be considered the early favorite in the race for Governor next year."
The URI Professor Emerita of Journalism and Secretary of the Rhode Island Press Association relayed her perspective to GoLocal.
"The race is now wide open. It means that Independents will feel even more welcome to join in, knowing that one won last time and another came close.
This race has the potential to become a politically exciting free for all. The media will win because of increased campaign ads revenue, and the public will win because voters will have lots of choices."
It is important for all Rhode Island citizens, especially the victims and families of the Station Nightclub fire, to remember that it was Lincoln Chafee who was one of only two Rhode Island elected officials to step up, in an effort, to secure the Station Fire site for a memorial park.
After a three year fight, I was able to request that Governor Chafee consider taking this land by eminent domain. He not only agreed to help, but, both he and speaker Gordon Fox acted quickly and jointly to help deliver this precious land to the hands of the people to whom it rightfully belonged. "
I will never forget the compassion, understanding and support offered by this gentle and honorable man. Thank you Governor Chafee. May God bless you.