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Lincoln Chafee Ends Presidential Campaign

Chafee speaks at the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention in Manchester in September. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images File Photo)
Chafee speaks at the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention in Manchester in September. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images File Photo)

Updated 10:23 a.m. | Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee announced Friday morning he was ending his long-shot, obscure campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.  

Chafee made his announcement during a speech at the Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington.  

“As you know, I have been campaigning on a platform of Prosperity Through Peace. But after much thought, I have decided to end my campaign for president today. I would like to take this opportunity one last time to advocate for a chance be given to peace,” he told the forum.

Chafee, the former governor of Rhode Island, 
entered the presidential race in early June
. But he struggled to raise money and garner attention. He ended the third quarter with
$285,000 in cash on hand

Chafee made an impact in
the first Democratic debate
 earlier this month, but not the one he had hoped for.

Asked about switching from being a Republican to an independent to a Democrat, Chafee told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “Anderson, you’re looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues.”

The line inspired much mocking of the former senator, who was trying to argue that the Republican party — not he — had shifted on the issues.

What really did him in was his explanation for voting to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act.

“I’d just arrived at the United States Senate. I’d been mayor of my city. My dad had died. I’d been appointed by the governor. It was the first vote and it was 90-5 because it was a conference report,” Chafee said. The impression was that he didn’t know what he was voting for and hadn’t read the legislation.

As a Republican, Chafee was appointed to fill his father’s Senate seat in 1999 and then elected to a full term in 2000. In 2002, he was the only Republican senator to vote against authorizing the Iraq War.

When Chafee left the Senate, he left the Republican Party. Three years later, he was elected governor as an independent. He campaigned for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

In 2013, while still governor, Chafee became a Democrat. In announcing the end of his presidential bid Friday, he promised to help the party.

“I pledge all my energy towards a big 2016 victory for Democrats across the country,” he said.

Perhaps the most publicized platform of his campaign was getting the United States to adopt the metric system. And 
talking to reporters Friday morning
, he reiterated that commitment. But he was most passionate about his commitment to peace, and it’s that message that he chose to push as he ended his bid, seizing perhaps his last moment in the spotlight during this presidential cycle.

With Chafee’s departure, the Democratic race is a contest between front-runners Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders, with former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley a distant third. Earlier this week, Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who also used to be a Republican, 
ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination
, but left the door open to running as an independent.

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