A major Newt backer is backing off the Bain attacks, Rick Santorum is getting more help in South Carolina, Romney is already moving on to Nevada and McCain and Huckabee are at it again.

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* Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is distancing himself from the “King Of Bain” ads he helped fund by donating to super PAC supporting former House speaker Newt Gingrich. “He’s not been involved in the strategies and the tactics,” a source close to Adelson told the Las Vegas Sun. “I don’t think anybody with an ounce of credibility would say Mr. Adelson is anti-capitalism or anti-business or even anti-Romney.”

* A super PAC supporting former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum is re-upping its buy in South Carolina. The Red, White and Blue Fund is putting another $600,000 into the Palmetto state, bringing its total buy to about $800,000. The group’s ad, “Pride,” is a positive spot touting Santorum’s conservative credentials.

* Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee are now back to their old fights. Huckabee alleged yesterday, as he did during the 2008 campaign, that McCain encouraged former senator Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.)  to stay in the race past South Carolina to fracture the conservative vote. McCain called the charges “totally false” on Fox News today.

* Democratic attorney Kathryn Boockvar plans to challenge freshman Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) this year, she announced today. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee now has 75 recruits for the cycle — “more than we ever could have predicted or imagined” said chairman Steve Israel in a statement.

* Former South Dakota attorney general, governor and congressman Bill Janklow (R) died today at the age of 72, of brain cancer. A powerful and colorful figure in politics for a quarter century, Janklow said recently that his only regret in life was speeding through a stop sign and killing a motorcyclist.


* Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was the first candidate to put ads up in Florida, and he’s already on to buying radio time in Nevada for the Feb. 4th caucuses. Romney won Nevada easily in 2008, but supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul has been laying groundwork there for years.

* It’s official: Virginia Del. Bob Marshall will run against former Sen. George Allen in the GOP Senate primary this year. Marshall, a strident conservative, came close to winning the 2008 nominating convention but has not shown the fundraising prowess needed to compete in a primary.

* Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) raised $1.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, giving the vulnerable senator $8.5 million on hand. Rep. Connie Mack (R), the frontrunner in the GOP primary to face Nelson, raised $758,395 and has close to $1 million on hand.

* Dr. Ami Bera (D), who is running against Rep. Dan Lungren (R) for the second time, raised $1.1 million in the past year and has $919,000 on hand. Bera outspent Lungren in 2010 and lost, but the 7th district becomes significantly more Democratic under redistricting.


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With Rachel Weiner and Aaron Blake