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.

* As expected, Arkansas Rep. John Boozman (R) officially kicked off his Senate campaign over the weekend. Two of his GOP primary opponents, Tom Cox and Buddy Rogers, dropped out.

* The open Senate race in Ohio continues to look competitive. A new Rasmussen poll shows former Bush budget director Rob Portman (R) with four-point leads over his Democratic challengers, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

* Democrats looking for a top-tier gubernatorial candidate in Michigan may be pleased to know Lansing Mayor Virgil Bernero (D) announced his campaign this morning.

* With state Sen. Don Benton (R) throwing his hat in the ring, there are now seven Republicans running to take on Sen. Patty Murray (D- Wash.) in November. The two most credible GOP candidates in the state — Rep. Dave Reichert and former state senator Dino Rossi — have not yet decided whether to run.

* The Pennsylvania Democratic Party formally endorsed Sen. Arlen Specter’s re-election bid over primary challenger Rep. Joe Sestak over the weekend. Given that Specter is the incumbent, this did not necessarily come as a surprise.

* In New Hampshire, the latest Research 2000 poll shows Kelly Ayotte (R) leading in this year’s Senate race, but her primary campaign appears surprisingly competitive.

* Former Sen. Dan Coats (R), hoping to make a comeback by running for his old job again in Indiana, told North Carolina voters not too long ago that their state is a “better place” to live than Indiana. Coats also apparently worked as a lobbyist for a variety of foreign countries, including Yemen.

* And Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu (D) was elected New Orleans’ new mayor over the weekend.