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Chafee Loss is Like a Kennedy Losing in Massachusetts (posted November 8, 2006)

Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee's loss is like a Kennedy losing in Massachusetts. There has been a Chafee representing Rhode Island for nearly 50 years. Former U.S. Senator John Chafee was elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives in 1956 and then Governor in 1962. Following a re-election loss in 1968 to Frank Licht and unsuccessful Senate run in 1972, John Chafee was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976 and served there until his death in 1999.

At that point, his son Lincoln Chafee was appointed to fill the term and was elected in his own right in 2000. This means that with the exception of a few years, Rhode Island has had a Chafee representing it for nearly 50 years.

The Chafee family name is the gold standard in Rhode Island for honesty, integrity, and public service. Although Lincoln Chafee lost this year due to the perfect storm of Bush's unpopularity, the failure of Iraq policy, a strong Democratic challenger, and a strong primary challenge from Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey, look for Chafee to seek public service again. In his concession speech, Senator Chafee clearly stated he intended to stay involved in the political process. With an open-seat gubernatorial election ahead in 2010, Rhode Island probably has not seen the end of the Chafee dynasty.