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:

* It was easy to forget he was even in the race, but Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R) of Michigan announced yesterday he’s ending his Republican presidential campaign. He threw his support to Mitt Romney and announced he’d seek re-election to the House.

* GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul appears to have a pretty hard ceiling on his base of support, but he apparently thinks he can remain competitive — Paul is launching a $1 million ad campaign in early caucus/primary states.

* On a related note, Paul has apparently ruled out running for president on a minor-party ticket, not because he loves the Republican Party, but because third-party efforts are “very hard.”

* In Arizona, there are reports that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D) top aides don’t expect the congresswoman to run for the Senate, but are encouraging former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona to launch a Democratic bid. Carmona, a Vietnam war vet and accomplished physician, is “seriously considering” the race.

* Florida’s Presidency 5 straw poll is this weekend, and while most of the leading candidates are officially not participating, Rick Perry’s campaign is quietly trying to line up support for the event.

* With about seven weeks to go before Election Day for Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D), the governor is apparently feeling confident enough about his chances that he’s willing to be seen with President Obama.

* Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) has no use for Ralph Nader’s efforts to find a Democratic primary challenger for the president. Feingold said he “strongly” disagrees with Nader’s initiative, adding, “I believe that re-electing President Obama is an absolute imperative for our economy, our judicial system, for progressives and for our country.”

* And former half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) political action committee is telling her supporters that she’s “on the verge of making her decision of whether or not to run for office” — so they should send her more money right away.

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.