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Wednesday's Campaign Round-Up, 2.7.18

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

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

* In Florida's closely watched U.S. Senate race, a pair of new statewide polls show incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) with narrow-to-modest leads over Gov. Rick Scott (R). The Republican governor hasn't yet formally launched a campaign, but it's widely assumed Scott will run.

* Diane Neal, an actress on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," launched a "progressive" independent congressional bid in New York's 19th congressional district this week. The seat is currently held by Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.), who's considered vulnerable, but if Neal and a Democrat split the center-left, Faso is far more likely to prevail.

* In Michigan, state Democratic officials appear to have some concerns about whether gubernatorial hopeful Abdul El-Sayed (D) meets the state's residency requirements. While teaching at Columbia University, El-Sayed was a registered New York voter as recently as 2015.

* Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) launched an initiative yesterday, urging all senators to sign a pledge, agreeing not to campaign against other sitting senators. (I know his idea sounds quaint, but I'd note for context that for most of American history, sitting senators wouldn't even endorse candidates running against their colleagues, much less campaign against them.)

* In a refreshing change of pace, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro (D) was candid with NBC News this week about his presidential ambitions, acknowledging, "I have every interest in running." He'll be in New Hampshire next week.

* Remember when I mentioned last summer that former Attorney General Eric Holder might run for president in 2020? This morning he said, "I think I'll make a decision by the end of the year about whether or not there's another chapter in my government service."

* And in North Dakota this week, the Grand Forks Herald  reported, "[T]he Republican Party's search for a strong candidate to oppose U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp appears to have foundered. True enough, Gary Emineth, the former party chair, said he is in, but his announcement came with a whiff of resignation from Republicans. Earlier four highly touted candidates turned down the opportunity to run."