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.

* It looks like Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) really will run for the Senate, hoping to succeed Sen. Evan Bayh (D).

* On a related note, there is a complicating factor: Indiana’s Democratic state central committee will not formally be able to choose a candidate until after May 4. If, however, Ellsworth becomes a consensus pick, and no other top-tier candidates step forward for consideration, he might be able to position himself as a de facto candidate well before the formal selection.

* President Obama will be in Nevada today, hoping to give Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D) struggling campaign a boost. The powerful pair will attend a town-hall meeting in Las Vegas, before speaking later to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Obama also joined Reid at a DNC fundraiser last night.

* South Carolina’s gubernatorial race is getting a little clearer, at least on the Democratic side, with Mullins McLeod dropping out and endorsing state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the frontrunner for the party nod.

* Speaking of South Carolina, remember Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R), who recently compared low-income families to stray animals? His burgeoning gubernatorial campaign released a new TV ad yesterday touting Bauer’s support for ending “generational handouts.”

* San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s (D) gubernatorial campaign didn’t go especially well, but he’s now considering running for lieutenant governor.

* The right-wing FreedomWorks group, led by Dick Armey, will throw its support to Utah’s Mike Lee, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett in a Republican primary.

* A new poll out of Iowa shows Sen. Charles Grassley (R) with a 21-point lead over Roxanner Conlin (D), 56% to 35%.

* And in Pennsylvania, former U.S. Attorney and far-right loyal Bushie Mary Beth Buchanan (R) is running for Congress, and apparently doesn’t like people talking about her suspicious prosecutorial judgment. (thanks to reader K.M. for the tip)

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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.