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Lincoln Davenport Chafee ( /ˈtʃeɪfiː/; born March 26, 1953) is an American politician who has been the 74th Governor of Rhode Island since January 2011. Prior to his election as governor, Chafee served in the United States Senate as a Republican from 1999 until losing his Senate re-election bid in 2006 to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. In 2007, he left the Republican Party and became an independent. He is the first independent to serve as Governor of Rhode Island since John Collins, who served 1786–1790.