Wednesday’s campaign round-up

WEDNESDAY’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:

* Aides to disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) spent much of the day confirming to reporters yesterday that Gingrich would announce a presidential exploratory committee tomorrow. Last night, those same aides then said the opposite.

* In Virginia, a new survey from Public Policy Polling shows next year’s U.S. Senate race as a toss-up. In a hypothetical match-up pitting former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) against former Sen. George Allen (R), the two are tied at 47% each.

* Democrats’ hard times in Mississippi: “Here’s the latest sign of the Democratic party’s monumental struggles in the deep South: The party failed to get a single candidate on the ballot for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, or auditor in Mississippi, after the state’s filing deadline arrived Tuesday.”

* The field of Democrats eyeing a race against Sen. Scott Brown (R) in Massachusetts next year is large, but candidates seem reluctant to launch campaigns at this point. The Boston Globe reports today that Newton Mayor Setti Warren; Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll; City Year founder Alan Khazei, businessman Robert Pozen, and Reps. Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch are all in the mix.

* When looking for “blue” states that might be in play next year, it’s best to skip past Rhode Island. PPP shows President Obama looking strong and popular in the state, with big leads over likely GOP challengers.

* Redistricting hasn’t shaped California’s congressional lines yet, but former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R) intends to compete in the redrawn 23rd district next year anyway.

* And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) insists he’s not running for president next year, but nevertheless sounds pretty cocky about his appeal. “I have people calling me and saying to me, ‘Let me explain to you how you could win,’ ” he told National Review. “And I’m like, ‘You’re barking up the wrong tree. I already know I could win.’ That’s not the issue. The issue is not me sitting here and saying, ‘Geez, it might be too hard. I don’t think I can win.’ I see the opportunity both at the primary level and at the general election level.”

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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.