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.

* West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw (D) issued a ruling yesterday concluding that the state can hold a special election this year to fill the vacancy left by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D). It makes a November election far more likely.

* Will West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) be the Democrats’ Senate candidate? He conceded this morning that it’s “highly likely” he’ll run this year.

* And on a related note, if Manchin does run, he’ll likely start as the frontrunner. A Rasmussen poll shows him leading his likely GOP rival, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R), by 14 points, 53% to 39%,

* Speaking of Rasmussen, which offers data that should be taken with a grain of salt, the pollster also released results yesterday from Illinois’ closely-watched Senate race. While the last poll showed Rep. Mark Kirk (R) with a slight lead, the new poll found state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) with a one-point lead, 40% to 39%.

* The Colorado Republican Party held an event yesterday to announce the launch of a new headquarters for its 2010 “Victory program.” RNC Chairman Michael Steele was on hand for the event, which prompted some key Republican candidates — including gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis and Senate hopeful Jane Norton — to stay away.

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) campaign has a lot of Sharron Angle (R) quotes to choose from when making ads, but in the latest spot, Reid’s team goes after Angle for saying she doesn’t consider it her responsibility to help create jobs.

* And in Tennessee, the competitive GOP gubernatorial primary finally appears to have a frontrunner. A poll from the local NBC affiliate shows Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam (R) leading the pack with 32%, followed by Rep. Zach Wamp with 21%.

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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.