Rick Santorum’s support is stronger, Democrats are shooting down rumors, Allen West has a primary challenger and Mitt Romney’s super PAC is spending another $1.5 million.

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Gay marriage wave shows major shift

Mitt Romney’s new Michigan ad: ‘This is personal’

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Sen. Richard Lugar next target of Club for Growth

Why Callista Gingrich is like a box of chocolates

Romney’s toughest sale: His own conservatism


* A new CNN poll suggests that former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum’s support is more durable than former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s. Fifty-five percent of Santorum backers support the candidate “strongly,” compared to 38 percent for Romney. Overall the two are statistically tied at 34 and 32 percent respectively, as in other recent polls.

* Democrats are shooting down an odd report in the Los Angeles Daily News that L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will soon be named chairman of the Democratic National Convention. The story “may be the worst piece of reporting in history,” DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse said on Twitter.

* Outspoken Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) has a primary challenger: Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder. Crowder said he thought the new 18th district should be represented by someone from the area; West is moving there because his current seat will become significantly more Democratic after redistricting. The sheriff faced a backlash in 2010 for endorsing Democrat Alex Sink for governor over now-Gov. Rick Scott (R).

* Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), an early supporter of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), says he might not endorse in Florida’s Senate primary this year now that his preferred candidate has bowed out. "We could take a pass on it," he said of his conservative-supporting PAC. "We thought a lot of Adam Hasner. Now that he's gotten out of it, we've got to rethink the whole race." Rep. Connie Mack III is the early GOP frontrunner.


* Restore Our Future, the powerhouse pro-Romney super PAC, has bought $1.5 million of air time this week. That includes over $600,000 in Michigan, $121,000 in Arizona and time in various Super Tuesday states.

* More bad news for Rep. Jay Inslee (D): a new Elway poll finds Attorney General Rob McKenna (R) leading him by nine points in the Washington state gubernatorial race, 45 percent to 36 percent. McKenna dominates with independents, 49 percent to 25 percent, and even picks up 13 percent of Democrats in the blue state. It’s still early, but Inslee has consistently lagged in polls, worrying some Democrats.

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is reportedly headed to West New York tomorrow to shore up Mayor Felix Roque. Roque is a Democrat who had angered his party by supporting a Joe Kyrillos, a Republican friend of the governor, against Sen. Bob Menendez (D).

* North Dakota Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp is out with a clever spoof of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad that touted her opponent, Rep. Rick Berg (R). The ad emphasizes that Heitkamp, like Berg, opposes President Obama on the Keystone pipeline — a distinction that she’s making the most of in this increasingly red state.


Happy Valentine’s Day! Or not.

With Aaron Blake