Tuesday’s campaign round-up

TUESDAY’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.

* Despite being utterly humiliated by a sex scandal, Sen. John Ensign (R) of Nevada said yesterday that he will not only ignore calls for his resignation, but will also seek re-election in 2012. He added that he intends to “work to earn” voters’ respect.

* A new Quinnipiac poll shows New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine trailing Republican Chris Christie by double digits, 53% to 41%, with just four months to go.

* Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) of Pennsylvania is giving up his House seat to run for governor next year.

* As expected, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna said yesterday that he intends to end his Senate campaign, in order to make way for Rep. Mark Kirk (R), who threatened to skip the race unless McKenna got out of his way.

* Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) officially kicked off her gubernatorial campaign yesterday, setting up a primary fight with incumbent Gov. Rick Perry. Hutchison ends the exploratory phase after having raised over $6.7 million in the first half of the year. Perry’s campaign said the governor has more than $9 million cash on hand, but raised less over the same period.

* New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte is gearing up for her Senate campaign, but since she’s never sought elected office, voters are still getting to know her positions on the issues. State GOP Chairman John Sununu said yesterday Ayotte is “more conservative than the press has made her out to be,” including being “pretty conservative” on social issues and “extremely conservative” on fiscal issues. Sununu also said he believes Ayotte opposes abortion rights.

* To the disappointment of the NRSC, Pennsylvania state Sen. Jane Orie (R) will not take on former Rep. Pat Toomey in a Senate primary.

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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.