I-Team: Hardly smooth sailing for Gov. Chafee
CRANSTON, R.I. —
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee's time in office has been, at times, anything but smooth.
Chafee caused a fire storm when he called the Christmas tree at the State House Rotunda a "holiday tree" in one of the most heavily Catholic states in the country, saying he wanted to keep church and state separate.
His son, Caleb, held a graduation party at the Chafee compound in Exeter where underage drinking took place. He son was charged and given community service.
Chafee ignored the legislature that for years refused to offer in-state tuition to qualified students whose parents are illegal immigrants and had the Board of Higher Education implement the practice, causing uproar among many Rhode Islanders.
When Jason Pleau was accused of killing a gas station worker, Chafee refused to turn him over to federal authorities because the governor was against the death penalty. He was concerned that federal authorities were going to ask for the death penalty. Pleau pled guilty, and as part of the guilty plea he will avoid the death penalty.
In May, Chafee stunned the political community by announcing he was going to become a Democrat. Facing a possible three-way primary against Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, the governor clearly was looking for new political support.
But it never materialized.
Despite his friendship with President Barack Obama, the president only "welcomed" Chafee to the party but did not endorse him for governor. And Chafee, with only about $350,000 in his war chest, found out early he was getting little to no support from state or national Democrats.
Chafee has always marched to the beat of his own drum, but for now, the march is over.