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 yesterday’s special election in California’s 36th, Janice Hahn (D) defeated Craig Huey (R) by about nine points. Republicans had hoped to pull an upset in the district held by Democrats for the last 35 years.

* In Wisconsin’s state Senate recall races, all six Democratic candidates easily dispatched fake Democratic primary candidates, put up by Republicans to waste time and money.

* In a very impressive haul, President Obama’s re-election team raised $86 million in the second quarter of 2011, well over the $60 million goal. The combined total of all of the Republican presidential candidates’ fundraising is about $35 million — well under half the president’s total.

* In a bit of a surprise, Rep. Ron Paul (R) announced yesterday he will retire from Congress at the end of this term. The 75-year-old Texan will devote all of his political focus on his presidential campaign.

* Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney has rejected the right-wing pledge from the Iowa social conservative group, The Family Leader. A campaign spokesperson called some of the language in “The Marriage Vow” was deemed “undignified and inappropriate for a presidential campaign.”

* A new national Quinnipiac poll shows Romney leading the GOP field with 25% support, followed by Michele Bachmann at 14%. Sarah Palin and Rick Perry are close behind, and the only other candidates in double digits. While Romney’s support is unchanged since the last national Quinnipiac poll, Bachmann has seen a big jump, from 6% to 14%. Tim Pawlenty is a distant eighth with just 3%.

* The same poll, by the way, shows President Obama leading all of the GOP candidates in hypothetical match-ups, in margins ranging from six points (vs. Romney) to 19 points (vs. Palin).

* Carly Fiorina, the failed U.S. Senate candidate and failed former CEO of HP, has joined the National Republican Senatorial Committee as its vice chair.

* With Thaddeus McCotter, for whatever reason, still running for the Republicans’ presidential nomination, it’s worth noting that his hometown paper editorialized this week, “The thought of Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) being president is a bit scary.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.