MONDAY’S CAMPAIGN ROUND-UP….Today’s installment of campaign-related news items that wouldn’t generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers.

* After a procedural setback last week on counting absentee ballots, Al Franken’s chances of victory in Minnesota have decreased. The Star Tribune’s latest analysis concluded that Franken now “faces a daunting task.”

* Sarah Palin will appear at four campaign rallies on Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ (R) behalf today in Georgia.

* Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) expects to face a primary challenge and spirited Democratic opponent in 2010, and believes he’ll likely win another term. Specter sidestepped questions about a possible Chris Matthews campaign.

* Speaking of Matthews, the MSNBC anchor was reportedly in the process of interviewing Obama campaign staffers for his possible bid. Over the weekend, Matthews called the claim “absolutely not true.” (His denial seemed directed at the staffing rumor, not his interest in the campaign.)

* Speculation about Obama’s replacement in the Senate took a turn late last week when Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) inadvertently referred to Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) as “senator.”

* The inauguration is just 50 days away.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.