Sen. Benton seizes the spotlight

State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, surprised even Clark County GOP Republican Chairman Ryan Hart with his announcement at the party’s Feb. 6 Lincoln Day Dinner that he would run against U.S. Sen. Patty Murray this year.

Benton called Hart with the news the night before the dinner, forcing a last-minute scramble to rearrange the program. He swore Hart to secrecy but did tip off Portland’s KGW-TV, which broke the story that evening.

Benton is serving his fourth term representing the 17th District. In comments to a reporter for The Columbian at the Lincoln Day Dinner, he referred to the September Republican primary.

Oops! Washington switched to an August primary in 2007, and the state primary hasn’t been a nominating primary for the parties since. As of 2008, it’s been a top two primary, in which the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party.

(For the record, The Columbian reported, and later corrected, the error.)

— Kathie Durbin

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