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.

* After several weeks of open speculation, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) will finally and officially kick off his Senate campaign tomorrow morning at a VFW hall in his suburban Philadelphia district. He will, of course, face Sen. Arlen Specter in a Democratic primary.

* Sen. Chris Dodd (D) of Connecticut insists that his recent diagnosis of early stage prostate cancer will not affect his re-election plans. A Dodd aide conceded, however, that the surgery the senator will undergo this month will mean he will “have a slightly more sedentary August than he’d planned.”

* In case there are any lingering doubts, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has said he will not take on incumbent Sen. David Vitter (R) in a primary next year.

* Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), hoping to lay the groundwork for a 2012 presidential campaign, delivered a big speech late last week to members of the Republican National Committee. Ed Kilgore reported on the event: “It wasn’t exactly greeted as a trumpet blast; a nice familiar tune from a kazoo might be a more apt metaphor.”

* Iowa’s GOP has been looking for a credible, top-tier challenger to take on incumbent Gov. Chet Culver (D) next year. The party has turned to former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), who served four terms, and who is reportedly eyeing a comeback. Branstad is currently serving as president of Des Moines University.

* Is North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D) the Dems’ go-to candidate to take on Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) next year? It’s starting to look that way. If Marshall runs, it will be her second attempt at a U.S. Senate race, following an unsuccessful primary campaign in 2002.