-- Not all ad buys are created equal. We're reminded of this political maxim time and again. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., went up with a radio ad in December and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock followed suit shortly after. At the time the ad was launched, Mourdock's spokesman told Hotline On Call the treasurer's buy was limited. Turns out it was very limited: $600, compared to over $25,000+ that was spent by Lugar. -- The expectations game is in full swing in Wisconsin. Democrats announced this week that they wouldn't provide any more updates on the number of signatures collected for the recall drive against GOP Gov. Scott Walker before the Jan. 17 deadline. But don't assume the silence means recall organizers fear they might fall short in their efforts. Insiders from both sides of the aisle in Madison are confident Walker will face a recall election. By not giving away their current count, Democrats can preserve the wow factor for the unveiling of their ultimate total -- and prevent opponents from leaking outlandish figures in an attempt to set impossible expectations. -- Speculation swirled over whether Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, would make an endorsement in the presidential race in the lead up to the Iowa Caucuses, but he ended up staying neutral. With the caucuses in the rear-view mirror, he has his own race to worry about now, we're reminded, as former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack announced raising $400,000 during the fourth quarter of 2011, and bringing in over $1 million during the year. -- Only about a week remains before ballots are mailed out in Oregon's first district special election and the race is heating up. Democrat Suzanne Bonamici put out her first spot that criticizes Republican Rob Cornilles, hitting him for not paying taxes on his business' income - an issue the candidate put to bed months ago.
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