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.

* The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the nation’s leading and most politically influential unions, is moving forward with its plans to create its own political party in North Carolina, with the intention of fielding candidates as early as this year.

* Sen. Bob Bennett (R) in Utah is in so much political trouble back home, he’ll stay in Utah to campaign when the Senate reconvenes next week after a two-week recess. Bennett will reportedly stay in Utah until the state’s Republican caucuses on May 8.

* In Illinois, Rasmussen has state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) trailing Rep. Mark Kirk (R), 41% to 37%.

* After Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) voted with Republicans against health care reform, there was widespread talk that Allegheny County Labor Council chief Jack Shea would take him on in a Democratic primary. Yesterday, Shea decided against it.

* In related news, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) also voted with the GOP on health care reform, and his would-be primary challenger also took a pass on the race this week.

* Florida CFO Alex Sink, the Dems’ gubernatorial hopeful this year, has been struggling a bit of late, and made some significant staffing changes yesterday.

* There will be a special election in Hawaii’s 1st congressional district on May 22, and Democrats are increasingly concerned about losing the seat. The problem is that it’s a three-way race — two Democrats against one Republican.

* In West Virginia, Spike Maynard (R) is taking on Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) this year, which wouldn’t be especially noteworthy were it not for Maynard’s close, personal ties to Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.