Two days after Dino Rossi declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, the crowded field of GOP candidates has already started to disperse. Candidates Chris Widener and Art Coday, for example, have both announced they are dropping out of the race.

(Coday will run for the open house seat in the deep blue 32nd district against Democrat Cindy Ryu. The outgoing incumbent, flaming liberal Maralyn Chase, is going for the open state Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democratic state Sen. Darlene Fairley.)

Despite Rossi's announcment, State Sen. Don Benton (R-17, Vancouver) is not quite ready to give up the fight to take U.S. Sen. Murray's seat for himself.

He told Politico today he's going to stay in the race and see how Rossi campaigns.

He also cited Tuesday's University of Washington poll, which shows a "generic" Republican doing better against Murray than Rossi—losing 42 to 39 percent, over Rossi's 44 percent to 40 percent.

What "generic" means is, of course, completely unclear (Benton is pretty far-right—he has proposed the complete elimination of state property taxes and introduced legislation that would put convicted drug users in jail for life).

Last month, Benton told Politico he didn't believe his friend Rossi would run. "I don’t believe Dino would allow me to sacrifice my family time and my business if he was going to run for U.S. Senate,“ Benton said.
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