Thursday’s campaign round-up

THURSDAY’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.

* In the first polls of Kentucky’s Senate race since the primaries, Rasmussen finds right-wing ophthalmologist Rand Paul leading state Attorney General Jack Conway, 59% to 34%.

* Speaking of Kentucky, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo (D) has reversed course and will not request a re-canvassing of the state’s voting machines and absentee ballots.

* California’s gubernatorial race is getting more competitive, with a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California showing former eBay CEO Meg Whitman leading state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, 38% to 29%, in the Republican primary. Whitman has generally led by huge margins.

* On a related note, the same poll shows an increasingly competitive Republican Senate primary in California, too. The PPIC survey has Carly Fiorina leading Tom Campbell, 25% to 23%, with Chuck DeVore a competitive third at 16%.

* Interesting tidbit that may be of concern to Kentucky Republicans: Rand Paul easily won his Senate primary with 206,159 votes. In the Democratic Senate primary, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo received 221,269 — and came in second.

* In South Carolina, Rasmussen shows Nikki Haley out in front in the Republican gubernatorial primary, with 30% support. Three other candidates are between 19% and 12% support.

* Utah Sen. Bob Bennett (R) has been flirting with the idea of running a write-in campaign, and will formally announce his plans in a press conference this afternoon.

* The latest survey in Colorado from Public Policy Polling shows Sen. Michael Bennet (D) leading former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R), 44% to 41%. Norton has been leading this race for months.

* And Glenn Beck has apparently partnered with FreedomWorks to elect more right-wing extremists this year.

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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.