early and awkward

The Nation Is Losing Its Only Independent Governor

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 04: Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee speaks during day one of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 4, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Lincoln Chafee. Photo: Alex Wong/2012 Getty Images

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee was a Republican when he served in the U.S. Senate, but on Thursday the Independent governor of Rhode Island will complete his political conversion and join the Democratic Party. The switch isn’t a huge surprise, since Chafee has been discussing the possibility for months, spoke at the Democratic National Convention last year, and recently signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger said he’s come to the realization that his beliefs align with those of the Democratic Party. “For anybody to imply that affiliating as a Democrat is simply about politics or about winning an election, doesn’t know Gov. Chafee,” Hunsinger added — though the fact that Chafee is facing a tough reelection in 2014 and could use an endorsement from his old Senate pal Barack Obama makes that point less convincing.

The U.S. Is Losing Its Only Independent Governor