THURSDAY’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 Connecticut, a new Quinnipiac poll shows former Rep. Rob Simmons (R) continuing to lead incumbent Sen. Chris Dodd (D), 48% to 39%. Most notably, independents in Connecticut currently favor Simmons by a two-to-one margin.

* He’s been running for a while now, but Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) will officially kick off his Senate campaign on Sunday, and then hit the road on a seven-city swing. With Madigan and Schakowsky out of contention, Giannoulias is arguably the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

* Speaking of Illinois, businessman Christopher Kennedy, one of Robert Kennedy’s sons, was reportedly interested in the Senate race, but may now be eyeing a gubernatorial campaign.

* We knew former Sen. Mike DeWine (R) would seek statewide office in Ohio next year; we just didn’t know which one. DeWine announced yesterday he’s running to be state attorney general.

* It’s a Republican polling firm, but Strategic Vision has Chris Christie (R) leading Gov. Jon Corzine (D) in the New Jersey’s gubernatorial race, 53% to 38%.

* And in Alabama, Republican Les Phillip hopes to take on Rep. Parker Griffith (D), and recently picked up an endorsement from Mike Huckabee to impress the party base. The endorsement, however, proved to be extremely expensive for Philip — he paid Huckabee a $33,990 speaking fee, a $600 photography fee, and about $9,000 to host the event itself. It led the Republican congressional hopeful to report negative fundraising for the quarter.

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.