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.

* With two Dems cancelling out the Democratic vote in Hawaii’s 1st, and with the party unable to convince Colleen Hanabusa to withdraw, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced this morning that it has no choice but to give up on the special election campaign.

* The Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania has suddenly become a lot more interesting. While incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter has led for months, new polls show Rep. Joe Sestak (D) benefitting from a late surge. Rasmussen now has the challenger up by five, 47% to 42%, while a tracking poll also shows Sestak up by the exact same margin.

* Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) was generally considered the frontrunner in this year’s gubernatorial race, but a new Mason-Dixon poll shows his support slipping. He still leads in the GOP primary, but his once-huge lead is down to 14 points, 38% to 24%, over Rick Scott , the right-wing opponent of health care reform.

* In Illinois’ closely-watched Senate race, the latest Research 2000 poll shows Rep. Mark Kirk (R) leading state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) by three, 41% to 38%.

* A new Washington Post poll in Maryland shows incumbent Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) leading former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) by eight, 49% to 41%, among registered voters. Among likely voters, however, the two are tied at 47% each.

* In Indiana, corporate lobbyist Dan Coats (R) leads Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) in the latest Rasmussen poll, 51% to 36%. Coats, who served as a senator before leaving Indiana more than a decade ago, enjoys significantly higher name-recognition statewide.

* And in Michigan, Connie Saltonstall (D) has withdrawn from the race to replace retiring Rep. Bart Stupak (D). Saltonstall was challenging Stupak in a primary, but after his announcement, the party establishment rallied behind state Rep. Gary McDowell (D), leaving Saltonstall with insufficient support to continue.