THURSDAY’S CAMPAIGN ROUND-UP…. Today’s installment of campaign-related news items that wouldn’t necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:

* Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced this morning that he’s running for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut next year, hoping to fill the vacancy left by Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I) retirement. He’ll face former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz in a Democratic primary, and the field may not be finished just yet.

* In case there were any doubts, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) told reporters yesterday that he will, in fact, seek a third term next year.

* Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) will also run in 2012, and a new Quinnipiac poll shows him in decent shape. By a 45% to 30% margin, Ohio voters believe Brown deserves a second term.

* In Texas, where there will be a open-seat Senate contest next year, Rep. Ron Paul (R) is mulling whether to run. “It’s certainly crossed my mind,” he said yesterday.

* Don’t be surprised if Rep. Sam Graves (R) decides to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in Missouri in 2012. He told reporters this week that the race is “something that I look at and kind of evaluate and we’ll see what happens.”

* With Sen. Kent Conrad (D) retiring in North Dakota, in-state Tea Party activists are telling Republican leaders they’re prepared for “battle for control of the party.”

* As the race for the Republicans’ 2012 presidential nomination kinda sorta gets underway, a top-tier of candidates with high name recognition enjoy the early lead. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Mike Huckabee leading nationwide with 21%, followed by Sarah Palin with 19%, and Mitt Romney with 17%. No other candidate broke double digits, though Newt Gingrich was close at 9%. The new NBC/WSJ poll is similar, but with a slightly different order — Romney leads with 19%, followed by Huckabee at 18% and Palin at 14%.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.