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.

* Hoping to change the direction of New Jersey’s gubernatorial race, Gov. Jon Corzine (D) is going after Chris Christie (R) for his connections to George W. Bush, who isn’t especially popular in the Garden State. “Chris Christie. He was a George W. Bush Pioneer. Helped raise over $350,000 for him. And getting named U.S. Attorney in return,” the voiceover says.

* In Virginia, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds will be joined by President Obama and Gov. Tim Kaine at a fundraiser.

* Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) continues to look like the frontrunner for the Democratic nod in next year’s open-seat Senate race. A new poll shows him with 45% support in a multi-candidate field, far out in front of potential rivals Chris Kennedy and Chicago Urban League president Cheryle Jackson.

* On a related note, the Republican establishment must be at least a little worried about Giannoulias’ chances — Sean Hannity went after the candidate on the air this week.

* Rand Paul, a Kentucky ophthalmologist, has formally launched a U.S. Senate campaign. Paul, a Republican, is perhaps best known for being Ron Paul’s son. This will be the younger Paul’s first attempt at elected office.

* NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) believes a combination of “fear” and “anger” will create “real opportunities” for Republicans in the midterm elections.

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.