Friday’s campaign round-up

FRIDAY’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. Trent Franks (R), who just this week expressed his support for impeaching President Obama, appears to be inching closer to a U.S. Senate campaign in Arizona. Next year’s race is an open-seat contest thanks to Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl’s (R) retirement.

* Former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) is getting ready to launch a Senate campaign in New Mexico early next week. Wilson also ran for the Senate in 2008, but lost in a GOP primary.

* The Republicans’ 2012 presidential nominating calendar is on the verge of implosion, with Utah slated to hold its caucuses on February 7, the day after the Iowa caucuses. With Minnesota and Florida also ignoring party pleas, New Hampshire is likely to move up its primary, forcing Iowa to do the same.

* Kentucky keeps moving further to the right, but Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear appears largely immune to the shift. In a new statewide poll, Beshear leads state Senate President David Williams (R) by 10 points. This is one of three gubernatorial races in 2011.

* Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) stopped by a FreedomWorks party in D.C. the other night, apparently hoping to beg the right-wing group not to support primary challenges against them.

* Former state lawmaker Carol Weston (R), the new state director for Americans for Prosperity-Maine, is considering a primary challenge to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R), who already has a few Republican opponents.

* In Virginia, Public Policy Polling found that the only statewide official with a negative approval rating is the state’s right-wing attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli (R).

* Former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman (R) has not yet launched his presidential bid, but former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) has already said he’ll do everything he can to defeat Huntsman’s campaign.

* And in Nevada, former Senate candidate Sue Lowden (R) is claiming in court documents that she’s unable to pay her campaign debts. No word on whether her creditors might accept chickens.

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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.