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:

* Roughly two years after getting started, the Tea Party “movement” is increasingly unpopular with the American mainstream.

* The first formal debate for the 2012 GOP presidential candidates was scheduled for May 2, which is less than five weeks away. However, with no credible candidates having actually launched campaigns, the event has been moved to September 14.

* Add “monetary policy” to the list of policy areas former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) doesn’t understand in the slightest.

* Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) is apparently interested in launching a ridiculous presidential campaign, but doesn’t seem to have a lot of confidence in its viability. Yesterday, Bachmann filed statement-of-candidacy forms with the Federal Election Commission, with the intention of trying to keep her House seat.

* In Arizona, Rep. Jeff Flake (R) is already looking pretty strong as a U.S. Senate candidate, but this weekend, he’ll have a top-tier primary challenger — Rep. Trent Franks (R) will reportedly launch a campaign on Saturday.

* Former Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R) youngest daughter is reportedly suffering from a serious illness, which will keep Santorum off the campaign trail.

* In New Hampshire, Democrat Ann McLane Kuster , a favorite of liberal activists, intends to run against Rep. Charlie Bass (R) again next year. She’s reportedly received encouragement to run from, among others, President Obama.

* Speaking of rematches, former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) of Arizona lost to political neophyte Paul Gosar last year in the state’s 1st congressional district, and she’ll give it another try in 2012.

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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.