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.

* Rep. Brian Baird (D) of Washington state will retire at the end of his term. He’s the third House Democratic incumbent to announce his retirement over the last three weeks. Though Washington’s 3rd backed Bush in 2000 and 2004, it supported President Obama last year.

* Within hours of Baird’s announcement, state Rep. Jaime Herrera (R) entered the race, and will likely enjoy the party establishment’s backing.

* In Ohio, a Rasmussen poll shows the state’s struggling economy taking its toll on Gov. Ted Strickland (D). In a match-up against former Rep. John Kasich (R) in next year’s gubernatorial race, Strickland now trails by nine, 48% to 39%.

* In Pennsylvania, Sen. Arlen Specter seems to have regained his footing in his Democratic primary race against Rep. Joe Sestak. While the Rasmussen last poll showed Sestak within single digits of the incumbent, a new poll shows Specter leading by 13, 48% to 35%.

* Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), considered one of the Senate Democrats’ most vulnerable members, continues to enjoy the assistance of Vice President Biden, who’ll be in Connecticut on Friday for a Dodd fundraiser.

* While it’s still unclear who the likely GOP candidate is to run to replace Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), right-wing South Carolina Sen. Jim Demint (R) will throw his support to Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams (R) today.

* After a recount in Atlanta, former state Sen. Kasim Reed will be sworn in as the city’s next mayor.

* Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki (R) apparently hasn’t given up on the idea of challenging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Krolicki has long been interested in the race, but was sidetracked by corruption charges, which he was cleared of earlier this week.

* Keep an eye on Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter (D), who seems to be inching closer to a primary fight against incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D).

* And speaking of Arkansas, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) believes Republicans must resist the temptation to be an inclusive party. “One of the things that concerns me is that in the United States there is real talk of maybe we need to have this big tent and accommodate every view,” Huckabee said Sunday. “That will kill the conservative movement.”