Chafee Unsure He'll Stick With GOP After Rhode Island Senate Loss

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Two days after losing a bid for a second term in an election seen as a referendum on President Bush and the Republican Party, Sen. Lincoln Chafee said he was unsure whether he'd remain a Republican.

"I haven't made any decisions. I just haven't even thought about where my place is," Chafee said at a news conference when asked whether he would stick with the Republican Party or switch to be an independent or Democrat.

When asked if his comments meant he thought he might not belong in the Republican Party, he replied: "That's fair."

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Chafee, 53, is the most liberal Republican in the Senate and was the sole Senate Republican to vote against the war in Iraq. That was not enough to save his seat against the winner, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, who shared many of Chafee's views but was a member of the dominant party in a state where Democrats far outnumber Republicans.

Chafee — a lifelong Republican who succeeded his father in the U.S. Senate — said he waged a lonely campaign to try to bring the party to the middle.

When asked whether he felt that his loss may have helped the country by switching control of power in Congress, he replied: "To be honest, yes."

"The people have spoken all across America. They want the Democrats and Republicans to work together," Chafee added. "I think the president now is going to have to talk to the Democrats. I think that's going to be good for America."