Chafee is a former Republican senator who lost reelection in 2006, switched his party affiliation to Independent and was elected as governor in 2010, and in May, became a Democrat.

He said, according to the Providence Journal, that he wanted to focus on "issues that Rhode Islanders would like him to focus on" rather than a "hugely time consuming" campaign for the remainder of his term.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and state Treasurer Gina Raimondo had already indicated their interest in launching a primary challenge to Chafee.