It’s another busy week in the run up to the first presidential caucus for the 2016 election, as two more candidates joined the race.
Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican Senator turned Independent, and then Democratic Governor of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015, threw his hat in the ring on Wednesday. Rick Perry, former governor of Texas who also ran in the 2012 presidential race and who suggested last week he would make his own bid, also made it official Thursday.
Chafee and Perry join 12 other declared candidates. Perry becomes the tenth Republican candidate, and Chafee enters as the fourth Democrat to run.
Among the key business issues on which the candidates have yet to take a stand are immigration reform, corporate taxes and an individual income tax overhaul, free trade agreements, health care and business regulations.
Chafee has the distinction of being the sole Republican senator to vote against the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2002, and he launched his campaign by making much of his ethical record, as compared to Hillary Clinton. Clinton is currently the Democratic frontrunner, and Chafee has suggested he will call her to task for her vote in favor of the war.
"I would submit to the Democrats across the country we are going to be compromised in trying to win the election in 2016 if our nominee supported the war in Iraq," Chafee said, as reported by CNN on Thursday.
Chafee has a mixed economic record in Rhode Island, raising its sales tax to reduce its budget deficit, and decreasing the state's corporate tax rate to seven percent from nine percent. The former, is a regressive tax that tends to penalize poorer consumers, and potentially the businesses they buy from. The latter, however, is a progressive tax that beneifts companies. Rhode Island also has one of the highest uenmployment rates in the country. At 6.1 percent as of April, 2015, it ranks number 39th among states, behind Tennessee.
While governor, Chafee reportedly signed three bills in three years that raised the state's minimum wage. The last bill, signed in July 2014, increased the state's hourly minimum wage to $9.
For his part, Perry is expected to make much of his record as a tax and regulation cutting governor of the Lone Star State. While the Texas economy expanded during many of his 14 years in office, driven by its strength in energy production, he actually raised taxes on a larger base of small business owners.
“We don’t have to accept the slow economic recovery we see here at home today,” Perry said in a video announcing his candidacy on Thursday. “We need a president who has done the right thing and bridges the partisan divide.”
Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana, is set to announce his own run for the presidency June 24. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush will make it official he’s entering the race June 15, according to news sources.