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.

* At the summer meeting of the Republican National Committee, chairman Michael Steele vowed to send House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “the back of the bus.” Time for a new speechwriter?

* In related news, the RNC is adjusting its presidential nominating calendar, “moving primaries to later dates and requiring states to allocate their delegates on a proportional basis.”

* In Iowa, former right-wing gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats has not endorsed GOP nominee Terry Branstad, but to the disappointment of Democrats, Vander Plaats also announced he won’t run as a third-party candidate.

* Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) must not be too confident about his primary race — his campaign launched a new attack ad against challenger J.D. Hayworth this morning, highlighting his ties to the Abramoff lobbying scandal.

* In Illinois, Alexi Giannoulias’ (D) Senate campaign has a new spot going after Rep. Mark Kirk (R) for (a) lying a whole lot about his own background; and (b) voting as a Bush lackey for much of the last decade.

* In Connecticut, a new Quinnipiac poll shows a very close Democratic gubernatorial primary, with Ned Lamont leading Dan Malloy, 45% to 42%. The Republican gubernatorial primary is also getting more competitive, with Tom Foley leading Mike Fedele, 38% to 30%.

* On a related note, Quinnipiac also polled the Republican Senate primary, and found former Rep. Rob Simmons’ renewed campaign struggling — he’s trailing former wrestling executive Linda McMahon by 22 points — 50% to 28%.

* If you’re inclined to believe Rasmussen, the pollster has Kelly Ayotte (R) with a big lead over Rep. Paul Hodes (D) in New Hampshire’s Senate race, 51% to 38%.

* Former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin (R) endorsed candidates in three key races last week — a Senate candidate in Kansas, a gubernatorial candidate in Tennessee, and a congressional candidate in Georgia. All three lost.

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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.