(CNN) – Former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee has launched a 2010 Rhode Island gubernatorial exploratory committee, Chafee aide James DeRentis told CNN Monday.
Chafee has "gotten a tremendous amount of encouragement," said DeRentis, who will serve as campaign manager for the exploratory committee. The new committee will "see how that support translates into financial and other support for a gubernatorial run," he added.
Chafee lost his Senate seat in 2006 election as a Republican, but subsequently became an independent in part over differences with the GOP. If he decides to run mount a 2010 gubernatorial run, he will run as an independent.