Even though I voted for Warren, and even though I probably wouldn't vote for him if Kerry ends up in Obama's Cabinet, I might be with you on voting for him as governor. Even though I'm a Democrat and he's a Republican, he seems pretty bro-tier, and he certainly isn't some Tea Party idiot. It's a darn shame that he has to be a Republican, but I guess it just goes to show that there are good people on the other side. If we had more Republicans like him then maybe America would be in a better place.
I'm unaffiliated, and I did vote for a number of party candidates in the election. I did not vote for any Republicans, however I think that's because I live in a very red state where extremist right wingers are somehow officially considered moderate. Social issues just matter way too much to me to vote for a right wing extremist, and there's no such thing as a position that wouldn't allow them to have an effect on those issues. Still, I didn't just look at it like "oh he's a Republican so I shouldn't vote for him" I actually looked each one up and went through their positions on different things. My ballot turned out mostly democratic, but I did, surprisingly to me, vote for two libertarians who were truly the best choices. Obama was the only Dem I voted for at the federal level, and that could easily have been a vote for Stein, she was my close second choice.
Thing about parties is, they're giant special interest groups. You can go with one that you think represents your interests best, but the candidates might not share all your interests. I'm unaffiliated because there isn't a party that reflects all my special interests, and if my perfect party ever shows up I still would never vote straight party.
Hmm. Well, in Australia, it's less a matter of voting for the 'other party', but voting for all the parties you like first and leaving the bastards 'til last.
Traditionally, I detest the Liberal and National parties. I do not mind a few MPs, but as you said near the end: they'll side with their party. It's rare that an MP will break party ranks in Australia, unless the party leader allows a conscience vote. As such, I support the parties I actually prefer, since my vote will never be wasted in our system. So no, I've never voted for a candidate of a party I dislike.
But if I had an option for an independent? ...I would still vote Greens, but depending on the political climate and the person running, I'd probably vote them. Oakshott and Windsor are both ex-National, but they're not tied down by party dogma and... are actually doing things because of it. Probably because they have quite a bit of power in our current parliament, but still. I'd vote for them (second).