Republicans counter that the economic climate makes Cantwell more vulnerable than most people think.
"I think if the economy is still as bad as it was in 2010 or worse, and I don't think it's going to get much better, I think with a solid candidate, I think Maria is very vulnerable," said Washington GOP chairman Kirby Wilbur.
But finding that candidate is so far proving to be a difficult task, with several names - none of them blue chip recruits - mulling bids, but not yet comitting to running. Stanzel says he will make a decision on the Senate race after his wedding in September. Another possibility is Susan Hutchinson, a former television news anchor and King County Executive candidate. Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant's name is also mentioned and John Stanton, a wealthy former telecommunications executive, is another name has surfaced in political circles, though Wilbur says he has not talked to Stanton about the Senate race.
Whoever runs against Cantwell faces a very steep uphill climb because of the state's Democratic tilt, the senator's campaign coffers and myriad other reasons, including, Democrats say, her aptitude on the camapign trail.
"She is much more willing to do what it takes to get out there and camapign where others are much more steeped in policy," said Allen.