Monday’s campaign round-up

MONDAY’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:

* As expected, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) launched his U.S. Senate campaign today, becoming the first candidate to officially enter the race to replace retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). A few seconds later, Flake was endorsed by the right-wing Club for Growth.

* On a related note, while Flake will likely have primary foes, some Republicans have already withdrawn from consideration. Former Rep. John Shadegg and sitting Gov. Jan Brewer both said over the weekend they’re not running.

* On the other side of the aisle, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the former Democratic governor of Arizona, has reportedly expressed some interest in the Senate race, and party officials continue to ponder whether Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) would be well enough to run for the seat, if she were still interested.

* Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) came in second. I’m still not sure why anyone cares, but this caused a bit of a stir over the weekend.

* Late last week, Public Policy Polling released a survey showing President Obama leading the leading GOP presidential contenders in hypothetical match-ups in nine key states: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Iowa, and Nevada.

* The Democratic gubernatorial primary is getting pretty crowded in West Virginia, with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant becoming the fourth contender. The special election will be held later this year.

* Sarah Palin has hired Michael Glassner as her chief of staff. Given Glassner’s long history in Republican campaigns, the move suggests the former half-term governor may be eyeing a presidential campaign.

* And if Republicans in Utah had to choose between their former governor, Jon Huntsman, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in a Republican presidential primary, it wouldn’t be close — Romney leads Huntsman in a new Deseret News/KSL poll by 30 points, 56% to 26%.