GOP Senator Won't Vote for Bush

Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee (search) said Monday he plans to support his party in November but may write in a candidate instead of voting for President Bush (search).

The Rhode Island lawmaker, known for moderate views that often run counter to the Bush administration, said he was going to vote for a member of his party even though he disagrees with the president on many issues.

"I'm a Republican," said Chafee, who was appointed to the Senate in November 1999 to fill the seat when his father, John, died.

Chafee also said that Democratic Sen. John Kerry's (search) lead in Rhode Island is so commanding, according to polls, that his vote won't affect the outcome.

"Practically, I come from Rhode Island. I hear Kerry's got 70 percent or so," he said. Asked if that meant he thought his vote didn't count, Chafee replied, "Yes."

Chafee was responding to questions from southern New England reporters and editors meeting at The Providence Journal for a workshop on environmental policies and their effect on the election.

Chafee has opposed the administration's push to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (search) and has criticized Bush's handling of the postwar reconstruction of Iraq (search). He was the only Republican senator to vote against the October 2002 resolution that gave Bush the authority to invade Iraq.

The Republican said the party's direction in the future will determine his political career as well. He said he's "not OK" with the conservative platform from the Republican convention, but would not say if he'd consider switching parties in his next election in 2006.

"It wasn't that long ago that moderates had more of a voice," Chafee said. "It's a cycle that I hope will come back."