Tuesday’s campaign round-up

TUESDAY’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.

* The NRSC expects the Senate race in Minnesota to take “years” to resolve, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) said yesterday he’s expecting it take “a few more months.”

* Arlen Specter argued on MSNBC this morning that Pat Toomey is far too conservative to win a general election in Pennsylvania, so the party’s far-right base shouldn’t support his primary campaign. Specter said Toomey is “to the right” of former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), adding, “Santorum lost by 18 points [in 2006], spent $31 million and was a two-term incumbent.”

* Jeffrey Frederick, the controversial right-wing chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, has been ousted from his job. Frederick has vowed to seek the position again, and enjoys the support of many far-right activists in the state party.

* Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee is moving forward with his plans for a 2010 gubernatorial campaign in Rhode Island, launching an exploratory committee yesterday. Chafee, who served in the Senate as a Republican, will run as an independent.

* Given Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s (D-Ark.) shift to the right, as evidenced by her reversal on EFCA yesterday, will she face a primary challenge next year? It’s possible.

* Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D), who’s planning to run for the Senate next year whether Roland Burris seeks a full term or not, has raised a very surprising $1.1 million since launching his exploratory committee. It makes him a credible force to be reckoned with, and adds further pressure on Burris to seek a graceful exit.

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Steve Benen

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.