FRIDAY’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.

* It’s a big day for the unresolved Senate race in Minnesota, with the state canvassing board meeting to determine whether to count improperly rejected absentee ballots. The preliminary decisions appear to favor Franken. More on this soon.

* It looks like Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D) plans to run if there’s a special election to fill the Senate vacancy in Illinois. Her office has confirmed her intentions.

* Speaking of vacancies, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D) has been rumored to be a leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton, but she’s withdrawing from consideration.

* If former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) challenges Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) in 2010, it would be a very competitive contest.

* It’s unclear if Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) plans to seek re-election in 2010, but if does, he’ll be vulnerable to a strong Democratic challenger. A Quinnipiac poll found that 36% of Ohio voters want to give him a third term, while 35% are ready to back an unnamed Democrat.

* RNC Chairman Mike Duncan had to scramble yesterday to remove a country-club backdrop from his website.

* Why didn’t the McCain campaign push the Jeremiah Wright story more aggressively? Because, according to McCain’s pollster, it wouldn’t have worked.

* Senator-elect Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has tried to reach out to Sen. Ted Stevens (R), but Stevens refuses to return Begich’s calls.

* Colin Powell is thoroughly unimpressed with the Republican electoral strategy, and has urged his party to stop taking orders from Rush Limbaugh.

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.