Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) top political aide, Jesse Benton, is taking a leave of absence from Paul’s super PAC after getting indicted this week on federal bribery charges.
* As far as Hillary Clinton’s campaign is concerned, Jeb Bush remains the likely Republican presidential nominee. It’s why the Democratic frontrunner continues to focus much of her recent criticisms on the Florida Republican, as opposed to his top GOP rivals.
* A far-right group called the Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, funded by undisclosed donors, launched a new ad this week criticizing Rand Paul over Iran. The attacks are from the right, accusing the Kentucky Republican of being too progressive on the issue, despite his intention to help kill the international nuclear agreement with Iran.
* In a bit of a surprise, former Rep. Heath Shuler, a conservative North Carolina Democrat and former NFL quarterback, is “actively exploring” a U.S. Senate campaign. The DSCC hoped to recruit former Sen. Kay Hagan (D) to run against incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R), but Hagan declined.
* Jeb Bush was one of the founding directors of the Bloomberg Family Foundation, at a time when the foundation extended financial support to Planned Parenthood. It’s another potential pitfall for the Republican candidate.
* Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) still supports a possible constitutional amendment to allow states to block marriage equality, but he conceded this week it won’t be his top priority if elected.
* And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) eagerly blasted President Obama’s climate agenda this week, overlooking the fact that Huckabee, during his 2008 campaign, said he believed in global warming and supported a cap-and-trade plan to address the problem.