Friday’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:

* The latest Associated Press-GfK poll shows Congress’ approval rating dropping to just 12%. It’s the lowest ever recorded in an AP poll.

* President Obama’s re-election team unveiled “Project Vote” yesterday, a voter-outreach drive intended to “combine grassroots organizing with digital outreach and voter registration to ‘expand the electorate’ and ‘maximize participation from crucial constituencies.'”

* Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R), after months of flirtation, has decided not to run for president this year after all. Had he gotten into the race, Pataki was not expected to do well.

* The latest poll from the Pew Forum found that 41% of Republican voters said there is “no chance” they would vote for former half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). Of the national GOP figures, only disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) fared worse, with 48% ruling him out.

* Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman told PBS yesterday he “wouldn’t hesitate” to call on the wealthy to make sacrifices. Pressed for some additional details, Huntsman quickly added, “Well, I’m not saying higher taxes.”

* In Michigan, Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra (R) stuck up for Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s ousted dictator, blaming the Obama administration for having thrown Mubarak “under the bus.”

* On a related note, Hoekstra, a former congressman and failed gubernatorial candidate, is the clear GOP favorite in the Senate race, but he won’t have a clear shot at Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) — Detroit charter school co-founder Clark Durant will apparently take on Hoekstra in a Republican primary.

* In Wisconsin, former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) hoped to have the Republican’s U.S. Senate nomination all wrapped up, but former Rep. Mark Neumann (R) will take him on in a GOP primary.

* And in New Hampshire, the GOP establishment is rallying to oust the state Republican state party’s chairman, Jack Kimball, despite his strong Tea Party backing.