Arab Times

Political enigma Chafee eyes his old Senate seat

Vukmir wins party endorsemen­t

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PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, May 13, (AP): Former gov Lincoln Chafee’s unanticipa­ted interest in running for his old US Senate seat began with an email from two passionate supporters of US Sen Bernie Sanders. A 61-year-old retired chef and a 48-year-old real estate agent worried Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s votes were promoting an overly militarist­ic America. So in January they asked Chafee, a quirky Republican-turned-independen­t-turned-Democrat, whether he would be interested.

Chafee has “been able to buck the party trends and look at the issues on the merits,” one of the writers, Jonathan Daly-Labelle, told The Associated Press recently. “Sheldon is a typical Democrat and locked into the party outlook, and he’s not looking at things individual­ly.”

To their surprise, Chafee quickly accepted a meeting. And on April 25, he stunned just about everyone when he publicly floated the idea of running against Whitehouse in the Democratic primary.

Chafee has said there’s a 90 percent chance he’ll run, and political observers say it would set up a fascinatin­g rematch of the 2006 general election, when Whitehouse unseated Chafee, then a Republican.

And in the small world of Rhode Island politics, there’s another twist — the two families have been tied for generation­s. Chafee’s late father, John, a Republican governor and senator, roomed with Whitehouse’s father at Yale, and the politician­s’ sons are friends.

Chafee is known for doing the unexpected. He regularly defied the Republican Party when he served in the Senate, becoming the only GOP senator to vote against the Iraq War authorizat­ion in 2002. He won the governor’s office as an independen­t in 2010, and then switched parties during his single term in office. Later, he extolled the metric system in his Democratic presidenti­al campaign.

Also:

MILWAUKEE: Wisconsin Republican US Senate candidate Leah Vukmir won the endorsemen­t of the state party Saturday, besting a better-financed opponent who’s running as an outsider and close ally of President Donald Trump.

The nod for the state senator gives her candidacy a boost against challenger Kevin Nicholson, but it doesn’t make her the nominee. That will be decided in the Aug 14 primary, with the winner moving on to face Democratic Sen Tammy Baldwin. The race is a top target for Republican­s and spending by outside groups has already topped $11 million, more than twice as much as any other Senate race in the country.

Vukmir focused her candidacy on getting the endorsemen­t, putting more than 61,000 miles on her car traveling the state to win over party delegates.

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