FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images

Chafee drops out of race for 2016 Democratic presidential nod

Announcement made a week after widely panned debate performance by the former Rhode Island governor

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced Friday that he is ending his Democratic presidential campaign.

In prepared remarks before an appearance before the Democratic National Committee, Chafee said he is dropping out of the 2016 race.

“After much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today,” Chafee said, before calling for the United States to stop getting involved in wars overseas, which had been a key message of his campaign.

Chafee delivered a widely panned debate performance earlier this month. He has struggled to raise money and gain traction against Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Chafee called himself a “block of granite” when it came to issues during the debate and has highlighted his opposition to the Iraq War.

Chafee was once a Republican, serving in the U.S. Senate after first being appointed to fill a seat his father held. After losing his second bid for re-election, he ran for governor in 2010 as an independent and won. He became a Democrat in 2012, but opted not to run for re-election in the face of low poll numbers.

Chafee's decision to leave the race narrows the Democratic field to four candidates: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig. Clinton continues to hold a commanding lead in national polls.

On Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced he would not seek the top job after months of indecision about whether to run. His announcement removed a potential hurdle for Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Chafee with support from less than 1 percent of respondents. He was struggling to raise money, and by the end of September had raised only $400,000 and loaned his own campaign an additional $363,000. He ended the third quarter with $285,000 in cash.

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