Monday’s campaign round-up

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.

* In a significant setback for Democratic recruiting efforts, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) announced late last week that he will not challenge Sen. Richard Burr (R) next year. Some recent polls showed Cooper faring very well in a hypothetical match-up. Rumor has it, the party will now turn its attention to Rep. Heath Shuler (D).

* As expected, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) announced this morning that he will run for governor next year, now that Charlie Crist (R) is running for the Senate.

* Speaking of Crist, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele declined to say yesterday whether the national party supports Crist’s Senate campaign. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has already endorsed the governor’s bid.

* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to endorse his fellow Kentucky Republican, Sen. Jim Bunning, during a Fox News interview yesterday. I can’t wait to hear Bunning’s response to the news.

* Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) announced late last week that he, at President Obama’s urging, will not run for the Senate next year. Israel was poised to take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a Democratic primary.

* Obama’s intervention on Gillibrand’s behalf has not, however, discouraged Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who continues to eye the Senate race.

* Former Bush Budget Director Rob Portman (R) saw his Senate campaign in Ohio get a boost the other day, when state Auditor Mary Taylor, Portman’s only credible primary foe, withdrew from consideration.

* And Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary took an interesting twist this morning, when Brian Moran launched a new radio ad, going after Terry McAuliffe for criticizing Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential primary process. McAuliffe, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, supported Obama after Clinton withdrew and endorsed her rival.

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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.