Thursday’s Campaign Round-Up, 2.1.18

Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.

* The exodus continues: House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), perhaps best known for leading an absurd Benghazi investigation, announced yesterday he won’t seek re-election in the fall.

* On a related note, Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.), who’s political operation has been the subject of a federal investigation, also announced his retirement.

* Speaking of Democrats who’ve faced investigations, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) will not be retried on federal corruption charges. In the wake of a recent mistrial, federal prosecutors announced yesterday they’re dropping their case.

* The latest Monmouth University poll offers a lot of encouraging news for Republicans: Donald Trump’s approval rating in the survey is up to 42%; the GOP’s tax breaks for the rich are now more popular; and the Democratic lead on the congressional generic ballot, at least in this poll, is just two points.

* In a move that’s bound to shake up Minnesota’s gubernatorial race, state Attorney General Lori Swanson (D) announced this week she’s running for re-election to her current post.

* In a move we’re likely to hear more than once in the coming months, former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), on the comeback trail now that he’s been released from prison, suggested this week his own conviction was the result of Justice Department corruption.

* Todd Ricketts has officially taken over as the RNC’s new finance chair, and Trump said he “couldn’t be happier” about the move. Of course, two years ago at this time, Trump had a very different opinion of the Ricketts family.

* The president this morning claimed that his State of the Union address this week had “the highest number” of viewers “in history.” He appears to be shamelessly lying.