Friday’s campaign round-up

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.

* Facing poor prospects, Democrat Joe Torsella has dropped out of Pennsylvania’s Senate race. It means Arlen Specter is facing no Democratic opposition — at least not yet.

* If Norm Coleman loses at the state Supreme Court, as is expected, 70% of Minnesotans want him to concede the race, while 27% want him to keep fighting in federal courts.

* The latest Rasmussen poll in New Jersey shows Gov. Jon Corzine (D) continuing to trail former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, though the margin is getting slightly better for the incumbent. In March, Corzine trailed by 15 points. Now, he’s down by nine.

* In one of his first moves as a Republican candidate for Senate, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed onto Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge.

* South Carolina State Rep. Nikki Haley (R) announced that she’s running for governor next year, and promises to be every bit as right-wing as current Gov. Mark Sanford (R).

* According to a Democracy Corps poll, Missouri Sec. of State Robin Carnahan (D) leads Rep. Roy Blunt (R) in the state’s open U.S. Senate race, 53% to 44%.

* Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) continues to look vulnerable next year, with the Public Policy Polling survey showing only 36% of voters in the state approving of Burr’s job performance.

* Rumors circulated this week that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D) may be ending her Senate campaign. Yesterday, Brunner rejected the speculation out of hand and vowed to keep campaigning. She’s currently facing Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in a Democratic primary.

* National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn told reporters yesterday that he expects Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to give up her seat sometime this year as part of her gubernatorial campaign. This will, of course, further complicate the party’s 2010 midterm strategy.

* Rand Paul, Ron Paul’s son, is running for the Senate in Kentucky as a Republican.

* And before Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) focuses too much attention on 2012, he may want to notice new poll results showing Minnesotans hoping he doesn’t run for re-election in 2010.

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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.