As the head writer and show-runner on Benson for seasons 2-7, I think I can clear up a few misconceptions.
First, Benson was not cancelled because of ratings. It was cancelled because of costs - an 8th season would have been quite expensive for the production company and ABC ... and they decided (at the last possible minute, by the way) to forego another season.
In fact, when we were up against Dallas (as has been mentioned by a couple of folks) we actually won that time slot every week - we also beat The World Series game we were up against that season, not to mention The Incredible Hulk and Dukes of Hazzard as well as everything NBC put up against us. The reality is that Benson rarely lost any timeslot we were in – during seasons 2 thru 7.
The cliffhanger ending.
Since I and the writing staff designed the cliffhanger (at the behest of ABC) I can say with some authority that the actual ending was to be Governor Gatling winning by a very small margin, Tyler (the character I played) calling for a re-count ... and Benson getting ready for a 'new life.' By episode 3 of season 8, the election would be decided in Governor Gatling's favor and Benson would be considering a job as a lobbyist for an environmental group.
In a surprise twist, the Junior Senator from the state would suddenly die and Governor Gatling would appoint Benson to fill out the term. Benson was going to Washington. Kraus and Clayton would be working for Benson - and he would take on the Federal government bureaucracy. We had a few more twists up out sleeve - but since none of our 'plans' were ever brought to fruition - I leave it to the fans to imagine the 8th season and beyond.
I hope this answers a few lingering questions out there.
I'd also add that it's great to see that there are still many fans of the show.