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.

* As I type this, Al Franken leads Norm Coleman in Minnesota by 123 votes. It is Franken’s first official lead since the process began six weeks ago. According to a projection by the Star Tribune, Franken will win by a margin of 80 votes.

* The AP reports that the final outcome will “also depend on some 5,000 withdrawn challenges that have not yet been allocated to the candidates,” and that may not be resolved until the new year.

* On a related note, CNN reports that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is “quietly prepping for the possibility of a temporary Senate appointment,” working under the assumption that the contest may not be resolved when Congress reconvenes in January.

* Caroline Kennedy had lunch with Al Sharpton in Harlem yesterday. He praised her as a “unique candidate,” but would not say whether he supports her Senate bid. “I will trust the government’s judgment to decide what’s best for the state, he told reporters. “I won’t get into that.”

* Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R) is popular in her home state, but if she were to challenge Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) in 2010, he would still be the favorite.

* Rod Blagojevich has scheduled a 3pm (eastern) press conference in Chicago. That ought to be interesting.

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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.