With the entrance of former Rhode Island Governor and Senator Lincoln Chafee into the Democratic Presidential race a week ago, we now have three of the four announced candidates in that party with a unique experience, rare among Presidential candidates historically—mayoral experience.
Being a mayor, even of a small sized city, is an experience that relates much more to the people than being a Governor or Senator.
Lincoln Chafee was Mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island for seven years; Senator from Rhode Island for eight years; and then Governor of Rhode Island for one four year term, giving him a total of 19 years in public office. He started off as a liberal Republican, the last of the old breed that had existed for decades, but no longer exists. Chafee opposed George W. Bush on the Iraq War, the only GOP Senator to vote “No” on the war. After being defeated for reelection by Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006, Chafee became a declared Independent and was elected Governor as such in 2010. Then in 2013, he joined the Democratic Party. His government experience made him fully aware of local urban problems, and he has a reputation of being thoughtful, courageous, and principled, as one of the few people to go from one party to independent to the other major party.
Bernie Sanders was Mayor of Burlington, Vermont for eight years; Congressman from Vermont for sixteen years; and has been Senator from Vermont going on nine years, giving him a total of 33 years in public office. He is also the longest serving Independent member of Congress in American history, as he is a proud Socialist who has allied with the Democratic caucus. He is a man who truly understands urban issues, as well as state and national issues. He has shown great principle and convictions, and everyone knows you get the truth and the whole story from Bernie Sanders when he answers questions.
Martin O’Malley was Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland for seven years and Governor of Maryland for eight years, giving him a total of 15 years in public office. Under his tenure, Maryland became the leading state in education and treatment of the disabled and senior citizens, and O’Malley took the lead on progressive issues both at the city and state level. He is seen as having potential to be a future President, even if he is unable, similar to Chafee and Sanders, to overcome Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton.
So despite Hillary Clinton’s great advantage at this point, she is gaining three rivals who are not to be ignored or ridiculed, as they have solid experience in dealing with the issues of people, and reputations as true progressives!