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.

* In a bit of a surprise, former President Bill Clinton will headline a fundraiser for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) later this month. Maloney is planning a primary challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and it’s the incumbent who enjoys the support of the party establishment, including many of Hillary Clinton’s former advisers. A spokesperson said the fundraiser was arranged “some time ago” and isn’t an endorsement of Maloney’s Senate campaign.

* On Tuesday, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) said he will run against Sen. Arlen Specter in a Democratic primary. On Wednesday, his spokesperson said no official decision had been made. On Thursday, Sestak once again said, “I am going to get in this race.”

* Economic difficulties are taking their toll on Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s approval rating, which has slipped to 46% in a new Quinnipiac poll. Strickland is seeking a second term next year.

* If New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R) enters the Senate race against Rep. Paul Hodes (D) next year, she’ll apparently enter as the likely favorite. A poll released yesterday showed Ayotte leading Hodes by four, 39% to 35%, including a seven-point lead among New Hampshire independents.

* In related news, Hodes’ fundraising is off to a good start, with the House Democrat raising $725,000 in the second quarter.

* The DNC has begun airing ads in Kentucky going after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) for his obstruction of the Obama agenda. McConnell, however, isn’t seeking re-election until 2014. A DNC spokesperson explained, “He should still care about what his constituents think — and hopefully it’ll send a message to others.”

* Will North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven (R) take on Sen. Byron Dorgan (D) next year? The North Dakota Republican Party certainly hopes so.

* And Les Otten, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Maine, is catching flack for using a campaign logo that looks very similar to that of the Obama presidential campaign. The Otten Exploratory Campaign denies having copied the Democratic president’s logo.

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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.