Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican senator who became a Democrat while governor of Rhode Island, will officially enter the presidential race on June 3, a person familiar with the plans told Bloomberg. The news was first reported by Politico.
Chafee is expected to make the announcement at a speech at the George Mason Center for Politics & Foreign Relations in Arlington, Virginia. He will travel the following day to New Hampshire, a key primary state, to meet with local Democrats there.
Chafee, 62, announced in April that he had formed an exploratory committee, becoming the second Democrat—after former Senator Jim Webb—to do so. He has indicated that he will make his primary reason for challenging Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party's presidential frontrunner, her vote to authorize the Iraq war when they both served in the Senate. In 2003, Chafee became the only Republican senator to vote against the Iraq War.
Chafee was senator from 1999 to 2007. He was defeated in 2006, by the Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, and became an independent the following year. He was elected to the governorship in 2011, as an independent, though he became a Democrat in 2013.
Despite this movement along the party spectrum, Chafee has asserted that he is qualified to be the Democratic nominee because his record has shown consistency throughout.
Ben Brody contributed reporting.