State Treasurer Gina Raimondo has proven herself a superstar at raising campaign cash. Yet as independent-turned-Democrat Governor Lincoln Chafee faces what looks like a difficult primary next year, his ability to contribute mightily to his own campaign is a definite asset. And based on an end of quarter fundraising email sent by the governor's wife, Stephanie, Rhode Island's First Lady is more than up for the intra-party fight with expected rivals Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.
Stephanie Chafee's email notes her pride at how her husband stood on the Statehouse steps during his inaugural address in January 2011 "and swore he would make marriage equality one of his priorities as governor. I was even more proud, just a few weeks ago, when he stood on those same steps and signed into law a bill that guarantees the freedom to marry for all loving, committed couples in Rhode Island."
The Chafees have a net value in the tens of millions of dollars. Back in 2010, Chafee vowed he wouldn't be defeated due to a lack of campaign resources.
In her email, Stephanie Chafee goes on to say that victories like the legalization of same-sex marriage "don't happen on their own."
It's true that Governor Chafee worked quietly behind the scenes to build support for same-sex marriage. At the same time, Stephanie Chafee's theme continues the grain of a theme that we'll see more of during the governor's campaign.
Critics perceive Chafee as a weak leader who hasn't been sufficiently active in trying to improve Rhode Island's economy. Yet Chafee's campaign is likely to tout him as a workman-like governor who has notched significant accomplishments after inheriting a tough economy.