Elections

Benton endorses Rossi, drops out of U.S. Senate race | U.S. Senate

State Sen. Don Benton has dropped out of the race for U.S. Senate and endorsed former state senator Dino Rossi.

Benton's departure leaves 12 candidates in the Senate race — among them Democrat Patty Murray, the three-term incumbent; Rossi, the two-time candidate for governor; and Clint Didier, the NFL tight end-turned-farmer.

The filing period for the Aug. 17 primary ends Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Benton's campaign released this statement:

“Four months ago, I set out on a journey to unseat Patty Murray — to help reclaim sanity in Washington, D.C. and turn our country away from the dangerous direction it is headed.

The times could not be more consequential. While politicians like Patty Murray dither in Washington, D.C.:

— Our future grows uncertain,

— Corruption escalates in what was promised to be the most clean and transparent government in history,

— Our standing in the world is diminished by the day,

— Jobless claims remain far too high,

— And our ever-expanding national debt threatens our way of life.

The American people have spent the last few years worrying that high government spending will undo this republic. They see record deficit spending, and they are worried that the economic tragedy in Greece is a preview of things to come.

I have always fought for small government, low spending, and lower taxes. I fought for these principles when I was chairman of the Republican Party, and I have fought for them for the past 16 years in the state Legislature. I will continue to fight to reduce the size and scope of government at every level.

But this is not what Patty Murray believes in. Patty Murray is spending our money faster than we can give it to her. And whatever she cannot take from taxpayers, she’ll borrow from China, and mortgage our children’s future along with it.

We are facing very real problems in America, and it seems as though Patty Murray and our current Congress is completely unable and unwilling to tackle our biggest obstacles.

Because the times could not be more consequential, I must take a close look at what is best for our state and nation now that Dino Rossi has entered the race.

Patty Murray has 6 million special interest dollars in the bank. To defeat her, we must consolidate our resources, and work together to put our country back on the right track.

This goal is extremely difficult to achieve when our resources are divided in a closely contested primary between several well-qualified candidates.

Therefore, since this campaign has never been about me, I have decided to do what is best for my country, my party, and my fellow Washingtonians: I am stepping aside to endorse Dino Rossi.

I am extremely proud of the campaign we have run. My campaign united thousands of like-minded supporters across this state. We have created a huge grassroots network, reached over 10,000 fans on Facebook, and gained endorsements from elected officials statewide.

I want to thank all of the people who have supported me and helped me even in the smallest way with this campaign. You will never know how much I appreciate the trust you have placed in me. I will continue to fight for you and the things that are important to you.

But, now it is time to come together for a common cause for the good of the state and our nation. We must win this seat and turn our country back to the principles that have made us the greatest nation on earth.”

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