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.

* As expected, Rep. Mark Kirk (R) is now officially a U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois.

* On a related note, Kirk was prepared to walk away from the campaign if he had to face a primary challenge, but as it turns out, Kirk’s plan didn’t go well. He’s slated to face former Judge Don Lowery in a GOP primary, though I assume Lowery will be pressured to stand aside.

* Heating up in Pennsylvania: “Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) spent his first two months as a Democrat quietly introducing himself to his new party colleagues. Now that he’s made some headway, the former Republican has come out guns blazing against one of them — Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), the two-term congressman who refuses to concede the Democratic Senate nomination.”

* And speaking of Pennsylvania, Gov. Ed Rendell (D) still wants Sestak to skip the primary race.

* Using Twitter this morning, New Jersey gubernatorial hopeful Chris Christie (R) announced Sheriff Kim Guadagno will be his running mate.

* The recent sex scandal has not been good for Sen. John Ensign’s (R) standing in his home state of Nevada. A poll by the Las Vegas Review-Journal shows his approval rating down to 31%. More encouraging for the senator, though, were results showing that a majority of Nevada residents do not believe he should resign.

* In statewide campaigns, Florida Democrats haven’t had much to cheer about in a long while. There are some early signs, however, that the party will enter 2010 stronger than usual.

* The stage is just about set for next year’s gubernatorial campaign in New Mexico.

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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.