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:

* In Texas, the Republican field for the open U.S. Senate seat got more interesting late Friday, when former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert (R) launched his campaign. He joins former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams, and Texas Railroad Commissioners Michael Williams and Elizabeth Ames Jones in the GOP field, and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) is expected to announce soon.

* Despite damaging questions about his mental health, Rep. David Wu (D) has filed for re-election in Oregon, and will seek another term next year.

* Florida Republicans insist they will not move their presidential primary date from January 31. As a result, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) is poised to move up the date of its caucuses, currently scheduled for February 6, which will in turn cause New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to move up their contests.

* Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) will reportedly announce a presidential exploratory committee on March 8, which is a week from tomorrow.

* The DCCC had hoped to see former Rep. Betsy Markey (D) seek a rematch in 2012 against Rep. Cory Gardner (R), but over the weekend, Markey ruled out the possibility.

* In Hawaii, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) will support Sen. Daniel Akaka’s (D) re-election bid next year, but he’s being surprisingly candid about Akaka’s lackluster fundraising and commitment to the race. [fixed]

* Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) ruled out any presidential ambitions in his future.

* A Tea Party Patriots gathering held a presidential straw poll over the weekend in Arizona. Oddly enough, Herman Cain, a former pizza company executive, won, followed by Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul.

* Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of Congress’ more ridiculous members, has been in office for nearly two months, and has already said he’d consider a vice presidential nomination, were one offered.