Thursday’s campaign round-up

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.

* As New Jersey’s gubernatorial campaign enters the home stretch, President Obama will once again visit the Garden State in support of Gov. Jon Corzine (D).

* In Pennsylvania, a new Rasmussen poll offers more bad news for Sen. Arlen Specter. The poll shows his lead over Rep. Joe Sestak in a Democratic primary down to just four points, 46% to 42%, after having led by 13 in August. Just as important, the same poll shows Specter trailing former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) in a general election match-up, while Sestak leads Toomey.

* In the closely watched special election in New York’s 23rd, a new poll shows Democrat Bill Owens with a modest lead over Dede Scozzafava (R), 33% to 29%. Conservative Doug Hoffman is a competitive third with 23%. Divisions among conservatives over the race are becoming more serious.

* Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (D), who recently returned home from duty in Iraq with the Army National Guard, conceded this morning that he’s thinking about running for the Senate next year.

* In discouraging news for Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), his Republican opponent, Rob Simmons, had stronger fundraising in the third quarter than he did.

* As the Senate campaign in Florida begins to take shape, Gov. Charlie Crist’s (R) approval rating has slipped to 48%.

* Christie Vilsack, Tom Vilsack’s wife, is weighing a Senate campaign against Chuck Grassley (R) in Iowa next year. It could create a fascinating contest — Jason Zengerle noted, “[S]he might actually have a better shot against Grassley than her husband would have…. [T]here are some people in Iowa who think Christie is the real political talent in the Vilsack family.”

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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.