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.

* I’m still skeptical he’ll be able to keep this up going forward, but for now, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is benefiting from his new role as a Senate candidate with no party affiliation. A new Mason-Dixon poll showing him leading the pack with 38%, followed by Marco Rubio (R) at 32%, and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) at 19%.

* In a bit of a surprise, former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin (R) endorsed Carly Fiorina’s (R) Senate campaign in California yesterday, dismissing former Rep. Tom Campbell (R) as a “liberal member of the GOP.”

* With Colleen Hanabusa refusing to drop out of Hawaii’s 1st District special election, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is considering giving up on the race altogehter.

* In North Carolina, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall will now face former state Sen. Cal Cunningham in a Democratic Senate run-off, for the right to take on Sen. Richard Burr (R) in November. Rasmussen shows Marshall with a five-point edge among Dems, 42% to 37%.

* The latest Research 2000 poll in Arizona’s Republican Senate primary shows Sen. John McCain leading former Rep. J.D. Hayworth by 12, 48% to 36%. It’s worth noting, however, that McCain’s margin has slipped a bit since March, and is now below 50%.

* In Arkansas, a new Mason-Dixon poll shows Sen. Blanche Lincoln leading Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in their Senate Democratic primary, 44% to 32%. The chances of a runoff appear to be growing stronger.

* In Iowa, a new poll from KCCI offers Dems some encouraging news. In the gubernatorial race, Gov. Terry Branstad’s (R) lead over incumbent Gov. Chet Culver (D) has shrunk from 16 points to 7. And in the Senate race, incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) is still leading Roxanne Conlin (D), but the margin is down to single digits for the first time, 49% to 40%.

* Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, recently defeated in a Senate Democratic primary, had suggested she’d withhold support from the candidate who defeated her, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher. Yesterday, however, Brunner suggested she may come around.

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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.