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Thursday's Political Round-up

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that wouldn't generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers: * Two n

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that wouldn't generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:

* Two new Rasmussen polls offer good news for Dems in Pennsylvania. According to the latest numbers, Gov. Ed Rendell (D) now leads retired football player Lynn Swann (R) 50% to 40%. State Treasurer Bob Casey (D), meanwhile, is ahead of incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum (R), 50% to 39%.

* In Ohio's gubernatorial race, Rep. Ted Strickland (D) released federal income tax forms for him and his family yesterday, covering the last five years. Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R), however, declined to do the same, becoming the first Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate in at least 35 years to keep his income tax records secret. Asked to explain Blackwell's decision, a campaign spokesperson said there was "no particular reason" for keeping the records private, "other than it's not required."

* Don't look now, but Nevada's Senate race may be competitive after all. Jack Carter (D) released still-private Rasmussen poll results yesterday, showing Carter trailing incumbent Sen. John Ensign (R) by just seven points, 46% to 39%. A Rasmussen poll taken earlier this year showed Ensign leading by 19 points.

* In the competitive open gubernatorial campaign in Iowa, Secretary of State Chet Culver (D) is still leading Rep. Jim Nussle (R), but not by much. A new Rasmussen poll shows Culver up, 41% to 38%. In May, Culver led, 46% to 40%.

* Though Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) has long been considered one of the more vulnerable incumbents this year, two new polls show him leading his GOP rival by double digits. A new Rasmussen poll shows Kulongoski ahead of Ron Saxton (R), 45% to 35%. A Grove Insight poll conducted for the Oregon AFL-CIO shows an even larger lead, 42% to 25%. Kulongoski seems to be rebounding at the ideal time: Rasmussen shows solid improvements in his personal and job approval ratings.

* And in Michigan, the back-and-forth between Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and Amway heir Dick DeVos (R) has swung back in the Republican's direction, at least according to the latest Rasmussen poll, which shows DeVos ahead, 48% to 42%.

--Guest Post by Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report

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