As son, Quentin and friend Robert Moss look on, Chafee files his official declaration of candidacy for U. S. Senate,
 June 28, 1972

He was defeated by Claiborn Pell. After working for a private law firm for four years, he launched a successful election campaign in 1976 for the seat of the retiring Senator John Pastore. After 1976, he never lost an election.