Former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee will take the national stage Tuesday evening in the Democratic presidential debate. The former Republican announced his run for the democratic nomination in April of this year to moderate local and national fanfare .
Elected to a single term as a U.S. Senator, Chafee also served as mayor of Warwick in the 1990s. He has so far failed to gain traction with primary voters. At least one poll showed him at zero percent. His low polling numbers and campaign platform calling for the U.S. to adopt the metric system, have provided fodder for late-night comedians.
But Chafee has continued to campaign in early primary states like New Hampshire, though he has not been drawing the arena-filling crowds of bigger-ticket candidates.
Chafee initially presented his candidacy as an alternative to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a role that has instead been filled by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been especially popular with liberals and millennials.
During Tuesday's CNN-hosted debate, Chafee may get more national air-time than he's seen since his candidacy began. He'll be standing on one side of the stage, as will former Virginia senator Jim Webb, who has also struggled with low poling numbers. Clinton will stand in the center with Sanders to her right. Analysts expect Chafee to distance himself from Clinton by pointing to his vote against the Iraq War in the early 2000s. He’s also touted his experience in all levels of government, from leading a city and state, to his time spent in Congress.
Unlike the two Republican debates, which have involved nearly a dozen candidates (and there are more vying for the Republican nomination), there are only five players in the Democratic debate. For the most part, media attention has focused on Clinton and Sanders.
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