Governor Lincoln Chafee spoke with reporters Tuesday in Central Falls. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News
By Steve Klamkin WPRO News
Saying, "I just do my job," Governor Lincoln Chafee Tuesday downplayed low approval ratings reflected in the latest poll of Rhode Island voters.
"I've won elections, I've lost elections but all I care about is doing my job," Chafee said, in his first remarks after Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy showed just 25.5% of respondents feel that he is doing a good or excellent job. That is down from 28.5% in October, 2012, and compares with much higher approval ratings for potential Democratic challengers in the 2014 race for governor.
At 63.7%, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras enjoyed the highest approval rating of any public official in the Brown poll of 593 Rhode Island voters, while 56% of voters felt General Treasurer Gina Raimondo was doing a good or excellent job. The poll, conducted February 21 to 23 has an error rate of 4.0 percent.
"I really don't think about politics," Chafee said. "I think about fixing DMV and fixing RIPTA and fixing cities and towns and fixing EDC," Chafee told reporters in Central Falls on Tuesday.
Chafee said that his low showing in the Brown poll will not dissuade him from running for reelection.
"No, no, I'm raising money," he said.
Asked about facing Taveras or Raimondo, Chafee cited the comeback of 1st District Congressman David Cicilline, who bounced back from a 17% approval rating early last year to win a primary and then reelection.
"And, he coasted to reelection, coasted to reelection," Chafee repeated. "And, there was similar hand-wringing over poll numbers, so the moral or the lesson is, 'just do your job,'" Chafee said.
Now an independent, Chafee famously bolted the Republican Party several years ago, but would not say whether he would consider running for reelection as a Democrat. In the past, he has pointed out that unlike Democrats or Republicans, independents have no party apparatus to support candidates.
Asked when he will decide whether to declare as a Democrat, he replied, "at the proper time." Asked to narrow that down, Chafee said, "not now."