WEDNESDAY’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.

* Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) took another step closer to a Senate campaign in New York yesterday, taking “a leave of absence from his Wall Street job so he can have more time to travel around New York State and decide whether to challenge Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in the Democratic primary.”

* Despite his humiliating prostitution scandal, Sen. David Vitter, a family-values Republican in Louisiana, leads Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) in a Rasmussen poll, 53% to 35%.

* Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) has been running for his old job for a couple of months, but yesterday, he formally announced his candidacy. He’ll take on Gov. Chet Culver (D) in November, with early polls showing Branstad leading.

* Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is likely to face a rematch this year against former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R), but a new poll shows the incumbent leading by nine, 48% to 39%.

* In Hawaii, a Mason-Dixon poll shows the leading Democratic gubernatorial candidates — Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann — with modest leads over the leading Republican, Duke Aiona. In the Democratic primary, Abercrombie has a three-point lead, but most Hawaii Dems remain undecided.

* And Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced this morning that Sarah Palin will campaign for her on April 7. Should be an interesting event.

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.