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.

* A new Rasmussen poll in New Jersey finds that former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R) now leads incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine (D), 47% to 36%. The 11-point margin is slightly less than Christie’s 13-point lead a few weeks ago. When leaners are pushed into choose one of the candidates, though, Christie’s lead shrinks from 13 points three weeks ago, to eight points now.

* In Virginia’s gubernatorial race, the Republican Governors Association launched a new attack ad against Creigh Deeds (D), accusing him of being a “big spender.”

* On a related note, Deeds has a new radio ad, which refers to the candidate as “that underdog guy.” The spot tells voters Deeds is “a little more Mark Warner and a lot less George Bush.”

* In a surprise announcement, three-term Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R) announced this morning that he will not seek re-election next year. Douglas added that he won’t run for any other statewide office in 2010, but he will serve until the end of his current term.

* As expected, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) of Louisiana announced this morning that he will take on Sen. David Vitter (R) next year. In light of Vitter’s prostitution scandal, the race is expected to be competitive.

* Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is expected to win the Democratic primary fight in next year’s Senate race, but the field of primary opponents is growing. Yesterday, Chicago’s Inspector General, David Hoffman, stepped down from his post to launch a Senate campaign.

* Last year, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) barely held onto his seat. Next year, he’ll face another tough challenge — state Rep. Harry Crawford (D), a DCCC favorite, announced yesterday he’ll take on the controversial congressman.

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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.