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Thursday's campaign round-up

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:

* With less than a year before Virginia's gubernatorial race, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) surprised just about everyone by officially ending his campaign and clearing the way for the state's right-wing attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, to win the GOP nomination.

* Cuccinelli will likely face Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee who also ran in 2009, though former Rep. Tom Perriello (D) is reportedly interested in the race.

* Speaking of 2013 gubernatorial races, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is seeking a second term, and a new Quinnipiac poll shows two-thirds of Garden State voters believe the governor deserves to be re-elected. In a hypothetical match-up against Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), the poll shows Christie ahead by 18 points, 53% to 35%.

* With former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) having resigned, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) announced there will be an April 9 special election to fill the vacancy. Party primaries will be held on Feb. 26.

* On a related note, expect the Democratic primary in the Illinois race to be very crowded, with local officials already warning of a "free-for-all."

* Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) apparently has one short-term goal, as far as the midterms are concerned: keep retirements to a minimum. Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) are already reportedly weighing retirement.

* And despite his many scandals, Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) insists he does not intend to resign, and expects to run for re-election in two years.