Call it harmonic convergence. The Times will have a brief item in its Insider column this week about rising murmuring on the Republican side of the aisle that Mike Huckabee will challenge Sen. Mark Pryor’s re-election bid in 2008 if his presidential campaign falls short.

Now here’s The Hill, no doubt relying on some of the same unnamed Republican sources, saying:

Though his long-shot presidential campaign is still in its early stages, some wish former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee would drop his national aspirations and return home to wage what they see as a vital campaign against Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) in 2008 instead.

Arkansas is often listed among the top Republican pickup opportunities in the country, but Huckabee is the only Republican who matches up to Pryor and there are no comparable alternatives, observers say.

Some points: 1) Why Arkansas is a top pickup opportunity given the waxing Asa Hutchinson took in the gubernatorial race and the national Republican shambles is beyond me. 2) The article throws in some other potential Republican candidates — Jim Holt (please, yes); Chuck Banks; French Hill; John Boozman.

3) But back to the central premise: I spoke with the former governor yesterday (and a very pleasant conversation it was) and this subject happened to come up. He said what he has said on a number of occasions before — he’s not interested in running for Senate. Dawdling at the whim of a Senate majority leader, particularly one from the opposition party, would not be much fun for anyone, much less someone coming off 10 years of executive power.

And speaking of Arkansas: Politico considers what it will take to bring Arkansas back into the Democratic column in the 2008 presidential race.