Thursday’s campaign round-up

Today’s installment of campaign-related news items that won’t necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:

* In New Hampshire, the latest survey from Public Policy Polling shows an increasingly interesting Republican presidential primary race. Mitt Romney continues to lead the pack with 25%, but in this poll, Michele Bachmann is a very competitive second with 18%.

* As if GOP presidential candidates didn’t have enough “pledges” to put up with, Iowa’s Bob Vander Plaats, a right-wing uber-activist, is unveiling his own pledge, called “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family,” includes 14 points, most of which have to do with hating gay people.

* Romney’s presidential campaign intended to raise $50 million in the first half of 2011. The campaign fell approximately $30 million short of its goal. [fixed]

* Michele Bachmann is launching her first television ad of the year, going up in Iowa with a bio spot, which includes a promise not to raise the debt ceiling.

* Republicans Governors Association outraised the Democratic Governors Association over the first six months of 2011, $22.1 million to $11 million. The two-to-one margin is actually an improvement for the DGA over the last cycle.

* Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) used to serve as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s (R) chief of staff. Chaffetz is endorsing Romney anyway.

* In the special election to replace Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th congressional district, Democrats will nominate Assemblyman David Weprin.

* Former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, will run next year in Illinois’ new 8th congressional district. Duckworth, a Democrat, came up short in a 2006 House race.

* And former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.), now a top adviser to Tim Pawlenty’s Republican presidential campaign, argued yesterday that Bachmann is excelling in Iowa in part because “she’s got a little sex appeal.” Weber later apologized in a statement issued by the Pawlenty campaign.

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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.