On his fiftieth day in office, Obama laid out new education plans while the Senate approved a spending bill to get us through the year. By most counts, it's been a productive fifty days. That may in part be due to his his effective use of campaign strategies—especially continuing to promote and extend the "Obama brand"—while governing. Remarking on the release of a logo that will identify stimulus-funded projects, The Democratic Strategist has a good analysis of that brand.

The NY-20 race gets a third-party candidate as Libertarian Eric Sundwall enters the fray. That could hurt Republican Jim Tedisco, who is still favored despite closing polls. A robocall narrated by Rudy Giuliani went out statewide seeking donations for Tesdisco's campaign.

As I noted yesterday, the outcome of the NY-20 might determine the fate of RNC Chair Michael Steele. Now, though, rumors say that S.C. GOP Chair Katon Dawson, who came in second to Steele in the RNC race, is planning a no-confidence vote no matter the race's outcome. Forgive my editorializing, but that hardly seems like the way forward for a rudderless GOP. Steele's not the only GOP chair in trouble: the state chair in Virginia—where Republicans are hoping to win a key gubernatorial race later this year—is also under fire from his party.

Looking ahead to 2010, Republicans are seeking strong fundraisers to help fight Democratic incumbents—so don't be surprised by a number of blast-from-the-past Senate candidates. In Pennsylvania, one Republican incumbent, moderate Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (who hasn't gotten tons of love from the national party lately) gets another conservative primary opponent in anti-abortion activist Peg Luksik—which might, if it splits the conservative vote, be good news for Specter. Finally, Florida Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, in an attempt to raise his statewide profile, is already getting a Senate campaign swinging despite the 20 months before Election Day.