PROVIDENCE - Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee today announced that he will not seek a second term as governor, saying he wants to dedicate all his energy to his current term.
Speaking in the parking lot of the R.I. Department of Motor Vehicles in Cranston, Chafee said he’d been thinking of not running all summer and discussions on the subject with family intensified during an August vacation to Bar Harbor, Maine.
When asked how running for governor would hinder his work leading the state, he said “obviously it’s not just the time and energy, but in campaigning, you need to make compromises.” He added that he had no immediate plans other than to finish his term, which runs through 2014, although he did not discount a future run for public office.
Chafee, who in May became a Democrat, took office in January 2011 as an independent after beating Republican John F. Robitaille and Democrat Frank T. Caprio in a tightly contested race. He noted in his remarks that switching to the Democratic party was not connected to his running for governor.
Before his election as governor, Chafee served in the United States Senate as a Republican from 1999 until losing his re-election bid in 2006 to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.
Chafee’s tenure as governor was marked by the collapse of 38 Studios LLC, which received a $75 million state loan guarantee before Chafee was elected that lured the now-bankrupt video game company to Rhode Island.
Chafee opposed the loan guarantee as a candidate for governor and was later blamed by 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling for doing nothing to help the foundering company as it tried to avoid bankruptcy.
Chafee’s announcement comes a week after a Superior Court judge allowed the bulk of a lawsuit he initiated to proceed against the architects of the 38 Studios LLC loan deal, dismissing only a few portions of the complaint.
Judge Michael A. Silverstein rejected a motion to dismiss the entire R.I. Economic Development Corporation lawsuit against 14 defendants - including Schilling and former EDC Executive Director Keith W. Stokes.