Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee is ending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, he said Friday.
Chafee is the second ex-Republican to quit the Democratic race after failing to gain any polling or fundraising traction in a contest dominated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who's taken an increasingly liberal tack in the primary, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist.
“After much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today,” Chafee planned to say at the Democratic National Committee Women's Leadership Forum in Washington on Friday morning, according to remarks shared by his campaign. “I would like to take this opportunity one last time to advocate for a chance be given to peace.”
In an apparent jab at President Barack Obama's foreign policy legacy, he added, “Do we want to be remembered as a bomber of weddings and hospitals? Or do we want to be remembered as peacemakers, as pioneers of a more harmonious world?”
Chafee, who also represented Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate alongside New York's Clinton, announced his decision after a series of positive developments for Clinton's front-runner candidacy.
She performed strongly in the debate, then saw Vice President Joe Biden announce after months of deliberation that he wouldn't challenge her. And on Thursday, conservatives said the House Select Committee on Benghazi's marathon grilling of Clinton turned out to be a political bust.
Asked by reporters on Friday why he made his decision now, Chafee, who's attacked Clinton on her Iraq War vote and private e-mail controversy, said, “Obviously it's a good week for Secretary Clinton.”
Chafee's exit follows that of former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, leaving only progressive former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, who's running a long-shot bid on a campaign finance reform platform, to contend with Clinton and Sanders.
(Contributing: Jennifer Epstein)