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 a bit of a surprise, progressive billionaire Tom Steyer announced yesterday he will not run for the U.S. Senate in California next year. As recently as last week, he seemed to be leaning heavily in the opposite direction.
* An adviser to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told ABC yesterday, “He has told us to proceed as if he is running for president.” Note, the conservative senator has said if he runs for national office, he won’t run for re-election at the same time in Florida, which would create an interesting, wide-open Senate race in the Sunshine State.
* Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad (R) is reportedly telling Republican presidential candidates that he expects them to “support ethanol production in a big way.”
* In Pennsylvania, a PPP survey released yesterday showing likely presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton (D) leading each of her top Republican rivals in next year’s presidential race by double digits in the Keystone State. Mitt Romney comes closest, and he trails by 10 points.
* On a related note, PPP also asked Pennsylvania Republicans who their top choice is in their party’s presidential primaries. Right-wing neurosurgeon Ben Carson was the top choice – I’m not kidding – with 18%, followed by Romney and Jeb Bush at 14% each. Rick Santorun, a former two-term Pennsylvania senator, is far behind in his own state with only 6%.
* Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) conceded yesterday that he’s considering the 2016 presidential race. “It’s a privilege to be governor of Ohio … and that’s my focus,” he told the AP. “But if I think something else makes sense, if I think the field is lacking or there’s an opportunity, I’ll look at it. All my options are open.” Note this would be Kasich’s second presidential run, following a largely ignored campaign in 2000, when the conservative Ohioan was still in Congress.
* Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), still making his way back to work after a household accident, was asked yesterday if he intends to run for re-election in 2016. “Everything’s online. We’re off and running,” he told reporters, adding, “At this stage I’m fully intending to run.”
* Between his veto on gun legislation and his proposed sales-tax increase, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) can probably be ruled out as a likely presidential contender.
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Friday's Campaign Round-Up, 1.23.15