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.

* In next year’s Senate race in Pennsylvania, either Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak will be well positioned to defeat former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) in a general election match-up, according to a new Rasmussen poll.

* In Virginia, the latest Research 2000 poll for Daily Kos shows Bob McDonnell’s (R) lead over Creigh Deeds (D) shrinking in the closely watched gubernatorial race. A few weeks ago, the poll showed McDonnell leading by 12 points, but now the margin is just one, 45% to 44%.

* In a setback for Republican recruiting, former Rep. Jon Porter (R) officially ruled out a Senate campaign next year against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D).

* In New Mexico*, a poll from the Democratic Governors Association shows Lt. Gov. Diane Denish (D) with big leads over her likely Republican rivals.

* In Hawaii, the latest Research 2000 poll for Daily Kos shows Democrats in a good position to recapture the governor’s mansion next year. In hypothetical general election match-ups, both Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann (D) lead Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (R) by about 10 points.

* And in Louisiana, Dems have been looking for a top-tier challenger to take on Sen. David Vitter (R) next year, and they may have found one. Rumor has it that Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) is poised to launch a Senate campaign. Vitter is considered a vulnerable incumbent, after running on a “family values” platform and then getting caught up with a prostitution ring.


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.