Monday’s campaign round-up

Updated
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:
 
* Following up on an earlier item, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) easily won the CPAC straw poll, just as he did last year, with 31% support. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was second with 11%. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who finished second last year, finished in seventh place this year.
 
* The Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity has been going after Sen. Mark Begich (D) pretty aggressively in Alaska, and the incumbent is now starting to punch back, launching his first television ad today. “First it was a D.C. actress pretending to be an Alaskan,” a narrator  tells viewers. “Now ads attacking Mark Begich on a carbon tax have been called false and not true.”
 
* Republican politics in Iowa saw a big shake-up over the weekend, with the chairman of Iowa’s Republican Party, A.J. Spiker, said he’s resigning to join Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) team. This comes as a relief to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), who has repeatedly clashed with Spiker.
 
* And speaking of Iowa, a new Des Moines Register poll shows Brandstad, the incumbent governor, in very good shape as he gears up for another re-election bid, leading his Democratic challenger by 15 points.
 
* Paul Blumenthal reported over the weekend on two groups – Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a brand-new super PAC, and the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a repurposed nonprofit – helping Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) with his re-election bid in Kentucky. Both organizations have “deep connections” to Karl Rove’s Crossroads operation.
 
* The Republican gubernatorial primary in Illinois is looking more competitive, with Bruce Rauner leading in the latest WGN poll with 36% support, but Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady aren’t too far behind.
 
* In Georgia, state Sen. Jason Carter secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination over the weekend, and will likely face incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal (R), who’s facing a May primary he’s widely expected to win.
 
* And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced its initial list of “Red-to-Blue” districts last week, intended to show possible pick-up opportunities. This first round featured 16 districts.
 

Monday's campaign round-up

Updated