Lincoln Chafee

Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, joins Bonus Q+A for a discussion of pensions, President Obama, public education, and the Democratic field in next year's race for governor.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

One of Rhode Island's most prominent Democratic union leaders, Robert A. Walsh Jr., says he now regrets backing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in 2008:

"I was an early and vocal supporter of President Obama's first bid for [presidential] office, and in hindsight, I probably should have been an early and vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton. So for all my friends who have chastised me for that, this is an admission that I was wrong on that case -- on the experience issue."

The debate is intensifying over whether Rhode Island should default on the roughly $100 million owed by taxpayers due to the state's losing investment in failed video game-maker 38 Studios.

While Lincoln Chafee's move to become a Democrat might be utterly unsurprising to some, the governor's move nonetheless scrambled the landscape for what already looked like a riveting election fight next year. That's why Chafee leads my weekly column. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (and) org  and to follow me on Twitter. Let's go:

Lincoln Chafee is now the first Democratic Rhode Island governor since the early 1990s. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay wonders what the governor’s party change means for his future.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Representative J. Patrick O'Neill (D-Pawtucket) joins the Roundtable this week (along with guest panelist Dan McGowan of WPRI-TV, Channel 12) to discuss Governor Lincoln Chafee's move to become a Democrat; the way forward for economic development, and legislative questions.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee, who rose to public attention as the son of an iconic moderate Republican and left the GOP amid the rightward movement of George W. Bush's presidency, on Thursday became a Democrat.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay sat down with host Elisabeth Harrison to discuss Governor Lincoln Chafee's decision to join the Democratic party.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee plans to visit Warwick City Hall Thursday morning to change his party affiliation from unaffiliated to Democrat and to make a brief statement.

Chafee plans to make the switch at 10:30 am Thursday, according to spokesman Christian Vareika (who emphasized he was speaking on personal time, on a personal phone).

Vareika denied that Chafee's move is an opportunistic one in advance of a tough re-election fight:

The Chafee administration is conducting a financial analysis on the cost of not paying back the moral obligation bonds that funded a $75 million loan guaranty for failed video game maker 38 Studios, the governor's spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger says the governor remains a strong believer that paying back the investors who bought the bonds is the right thing to do.

Don Borman / RIPR

Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s administration is doing a financial analysis on the cost of not paying back investors who underwrote the state’s loan guarantee for failed video game maker 38 Studios.

The governor has said it’s important for the state’s reputation to pay back the 38 Studios loan. Chafee’s spokeswoman, Christine Hunsinger, said several state agencies and department heads are conducting an analysis on the cost of not paying back those bondholders.

Moderate Party founder Ken Block has announced that he’ll be a candidate for governor next year. Block calls himself a problem-solver who can move the state forward.

Block thinks he can significantly improve on his showing in 2010, when he got six and a half percent of the vote for governor. He says he’s running because Rhode Island’s problems are abundantly clear.

Former Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey, who had a meteoric rise in Rhode Island politics before losing a Republican primary challenge to then-US Senator Lincoln Chafee in 2006, is headed toward a GOP run for governor in his adopted state of Colorado.

Via KDVR (h/t Kathy Gregg):

file / RIPR

A handful of open government groups are urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to block legislation that would shroud school safety plans in secrecy. 

Pablo Rodriguez joins the Roundtable this week as we discuss the 2014 race for treasurer; Governor Lincoln Chafee's recent judicial nominations; lower-than-expected state revenues; and the trio of controversies facing President Obama.

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