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WASHINGTON — Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent who used to be a Republican, intends to run for a second term next year — but as a Democrat.

A Democratic source with knowledge of Chafee’s decision confirmed the news to USA TODAY. The source requested anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak ahead of Chafee.

Chafee, elected in 2010, had insisted he would seek a second term despite low job-approval ratings in public opinion polls and hinted he could join the party of President Obama, whom he has endorsed twice.

The governor is expected to announce his new party registration as early as Thursday.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that “the president welcomes Gov. Chafee to the party.”

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