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.

* In Delaware, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D) officially launched his Senate bid yesterday, with the enthusiastic support of the state and national party. He’ll be the underdog against Rep. Mike Castle (R).

* A new Rasmussen poll shows Rep. Mark Kirk (R) with the early lead over state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) in Illinois’ Senate race, 46% to 40%.

* Speaking of Illinois, Democrats leaders were dismayed when pawnbroker Scott Lee Cohen spent a lot of his own money and won the party’s nomination for lieutenant governor this week. Those concerns grew far more intense today when it was reported that Cohen was arrested in 2005 for holding a knife to his prostitute girlfriend’s neck. (In case you’re wondering, the only way Dems can get this guy off the ballot would be for Cohen to voluntarily quit.)

* In Connecticut, a new Rasmussen poll continues to show state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) looking strong in the open Senate race. His margin over the top Republican candidates is about 20 points.

* Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) was made to look pretty foolish during his exchange with President Obama last week, so naturally, the far-right lawmaker is trying to raise money off the incident.

* Some recent polls showed former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) as a very competitive opponent against Sen. Russ Feingold (D) this year, but we learned this week that Thompson has accepted a new job with a venture capital fund, making it unlikely that he’ll run for office this year.

* And in California, Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina (R) released a new web video late yesterday, going after her primary opponent, former Rep. Tom Campbell, as a FCINO (fiscal conservative in name only). It features some kind of demonic sheep/man, and is among the strangest ads for a major office I’ve ever seen.

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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.