Benton to Rossi: Bow out now, please!

Sen. Don Benton‘s campaign announced Tuesday that the Vancouver Republican has raised nearly $121,000 toward his U.S. Senate campaign since he jumped into the race against Sen. Patty Murray on Feb. 6 — even with “one hand tied behind his back” while serving in the Legislature.

On Sunday, Benton, one of several Republican candidates in the race, announced that a new Rassmussen Reports telephone poll shows he has moved to within 8 points of Murray and is gaining ground.

The survey of likely voters in the state “shows Murray earning 45% to 48% of the vote, down just slightly from a month ago,” the pollster reported. “She runs best – with 48% support – against her two strongest GOP challengers, Dino Rossi and State Senator Don Benton.”

Benton picks up 40 percent of the vote in the latest hypothetical match-up against Murray, a 3 percent gain since last month; Rossi, who has yet to announce whether he’s running, is down slightly, with 46 percent.

Benton is nudging Rossi to take himself out of the running once and for all, saying his indecision — the former two-time gubernatorial candidate has until the June filing deadline to announce — has “cast a shadow” over other candidates who have declared.

Citng his personal friendship with Rossi, Benton says, “If had serious plans, I really believe he would have told me that.”

Kathie Durbin

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