Long-shot candidate Lincoln Chafee said Friday he is dropping out of the Democratic presidential race Friday, further clearing the field for front-runner Hillary Clinton.
“After much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today,” Chafee told the Democratic National Committee’s annual Women’s Leadership Forum.
Chafee’s announcement, coming just days after Jim Webb also withdrew, leaves Clinton with only two opponents for the Democratic nomination: Bernie Sandersand Martin O’Malley. In addition, Vice President Biden announced Wednesday he would not enter the race.
A former governor and senator from Rhode Island, Chafee had trouble raising money and gaining traction in the Democratic race. He struggled in last week’s first Democratic debate.
Chafee, who had made his congressional vote against the Iraq invasion a key part of his campaign, said he wanted to give the speech to the women’s forum to advocate for peace — an effort in which women leaders are key.
“Studies show that women tend to lead differently than men, in that women are more likely to be collaborative and team oriented,” Chafee said. “It is undeniable the benefits women provide to the pursuit of peace.”
Chafee also told the story about the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata,” a comedy in which women agree to withhold sexual favors until the men give up war.
While he has criticized Clinton over her past support for the Iraq war, Chafee focused his DNC speech on the Republican presidential candidates.
“From what I’ve heard none of the Republicans running for president want to understand anything about the Middle East and North Africa,” Chafee said. “Instead they prefer to espouse more bellicosity, more saber rattling and more blind macho posturing.”
Chafee also told the crowd that the Republican agenda “sets back women’s rights.”
Chafee raised just $408,000 through Sept. 30, and nearly 90% came from the candidate himself. By comparison, Clinton has raised more than $77 million.
After Chafee’s speech, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz praised Chafee’s career and anti-war record, calling him “a public servant of conscience.”