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.

* Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) surprised nearly everyone late last week when he said he’d walk away from a Senate campaign unless the party cleared his path and ensured he would face no primary opponent. His ultimatum seems to have worked — Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna will reportedly announce today that he’s making way for Kirk today.

* As for who Kirk might face next November, Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) hopes to position himself as the leader of the pack. He released a lengthy list of endorsements today, featuring two members of Illinois’ congressional delegation — Reps. Bill Foster (D) and Phil Hare (D) — and more than a few state legislators.

* Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) reportedly raised more than $1 million in the second quarter, all of which he’ll no doubt transfer to his Senate campaign coffers. He’ll start his primary race with $4.2 million cash on hand.

* Meanwhile, Sestak’s likely Democratic rival, Sen. Arlen Specter, is apparently in even better shape, financially. While it’s unclear what the incumbent will raise as a Democratic senator, Specter does have $6.7 million cash on hand.

* In still more fundraising news, Alex Sink (D) appears to be trailing Bill McCollum (R) a little in Florida’s gubernatorial race, but Sink has the edge when it comes to contributions.

* And in Nevada, two-term Clark County commissioner Rory Reid, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s son, is poised to launch a gubernatorial campaign.

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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.