Friday’s campaign round-up

FRIDAY’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.

* In Colorado, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced yesterday that he will not run for governor next year. Just as important, Salazar, a former U.S. senator, said he will instead endorse Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s (D) still-unannounced campaign.

* For what it’s worth, the latest Rasmussen poll shows Hickenlooper narrowly trailing former Rep. Scott McInnis (R) in a hypothetical gubernatorial match-up, 45% to 42%.

* A right-wing outfit called American Future Fund, based out of Iowa, has launched an attack ad against Martha Coakley’s (D) Senate campaign in Massachusetts.

* In Connecticut, another statewide poll, this one from Rasmussen, shows state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) with huge leads over the Republican field, which fared far better against incumbent Sen. Chris Dodd (D).

* In Pennsylvania, Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) had been running for governor, but his campaign has struggled badly against primary opponent and state Attorney General Tom Corbett. Yesterday, Gerlach decided to end his statewide race and seek re-election to Congress.

* It’s a genuine shame that such a response was necessary, but in Illinois, Senate hopeful Mark Kirk (R) denied right-wing rumors about his sexual orientation. “No, it’s not true,” Kirk said about allegations he’s gay.

* The New York political world is scrambling in light of reports on Harold Ford’s possible interest in a Senate campaign this year. This week, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.) intervened to scuttle the idea, with Schumer reaching out to Ford directly. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), however, seems to be encouraging Ford to run.

* Former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) is reportedly “very interested” in running against Gov. John Hoeven (R) in the race to succeed Sen. Byron Dorgan (D). The two candidates ran against each other 10 years ago, when Hoeven was first elected.

* In Iowa, former Gov. Terry Branstad (R) officially kicked off his campaign to get his old job back. Branstad served four terms in the ’80s and ’90s, and is expected to be very competitive against incumbent Gov. Chet Culver (D) in November.

* In Arizona, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) conceded yesterday that he’s “seriously considering” a primary campaign against Sen. John McCain (R) this year.

* The right-wing Club for Growth announced today that it will work to keep Utah Sen. Robert Bennett (R) from winning re-election this year.