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.

* And then there were four House Democratic retirements: “After more than a quarter-century of public service to his home state of Tennessee, U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon announced his plans to retire from Congress when his current term ends in 2010.” It’s expected to be a likely GOP pick-up next year.

* On a related note, Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) had already announced plans to give up his seat to run for governor, but he will actually step down before the end of his term to focus on his statewide race.

* Houston elected City Controller Annise Parker as its new mayor, with 53% of the vote. Houston is now the largest city in American history to elect an openly gay mayor.

* Good news for New York Gov. David Paterson (D): a new Siena poll (pdf) shows his approval rating inching up. Bad news: he still trails Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic primary by 44 points.

* In Illinois, a Chicago Tribune poll finds Alexi Giannoulias (D) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R) leading their respective Senate primaries. The election is on Feb. 2.

* And speaking of Illinois, the same poll shows Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and former Attorney General Jim Ryan (R) leading their respective gubernatorial primaries.

* Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) is clearly in trouble next year, but she’s already getting some support from the state party, and union allies are targeting her top GOP challenger.

* Speaking of Democratic Senate incumbents who are in trouble, the latest Rasmussen poll shows appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D) trailing former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) in Colorado, 46% to 37%.

* And in Rhode Island, there are now zero Republicans running for governor next year. Term limits prevent incumbent Gov. Don Carcieri (R) from seeking a third term.