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.

* Former congressman and right-wing radio host J.D. Hayworth (R) will officially kick off his primary challenge against Sen. John McCain (R) in Arizona today.

* With Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) retiring, prospective Dems are lining up to run for the seat. Providence Mayor David Cicilline and Bill Lynch, chairman of the state Democratic Party, have declared their candidacies.

* Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) is struggling badly in his re-election bid. A Des Moines Register poll shows the incumbent trailing former Gov. Terry Brandstad (R) by 20 points, 53% to 33%. Branstad, however, still has a GOP primary to win, and Culver fares far better against the other Republican candidates.

* Expect Ned Lamont (D) to formally enter Connecticut’s gubernatorial race tomorrow. He’ll face Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy in a primary, but Lamont will likely be the favorite.

* As if former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D), eyeing a Senate campaign in New York, didn’t have enough early troubles, there are now questions surrounding the New York state income taxes he hasn’t paid.

* On a related note, the “Draft Harold Ford” effort got off to a comically bad start last week.

* Despite a humiliating prostitution scandal, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) continues to lead in his re-election campaign. Rasmussen now shows the scandal-plagued incumbent leading Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) by 24 points, 57% to 33%.

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) looks like he’ll have a very tough re-election fight, but his campaign may be slightly easier if there’s a “Tea Party” candidate running, which may split the conservative vote.

* And in Texas, an Austin American-Statesman poll shows Gov. Rick Perry (R) leading the GOP field with 45% support in the primary, 16 points ahead of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) at 29%. A Research 2000 poll pegs Perry’s support at 42%, 12 points head of Hutchison. To avoid a runoff, Perry will need to top 50% when voters head to the polls two weeks from tomorrow.

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Steve Benen

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.