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Hotline Sort: Suddenly Susan

4) In case you missed it on Friday, Ricardo Sanchez has exited the Texas Senate race, citing poor fundraising and the loss of his house to a fire. Remember when the DSCC was touting Texas as a potential pickup opportunity? Those days are long gone. Sanchez's entrance and abrupt exit from the race is one of 2011's biggest recruiting busts. 3) He was on his way out, but now he's back in as chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. On Saturday, Dan Parker wrote a letter to the party withdrawing his resignation and indicating that party leaders had asked him to stay on. The Evansville Courier & Press has a good roundup of the entire tick tock: The sequence of events that led to Parker keeping the job boil down to this: The clear options were Parker or Joel Miller, a man supported by a Marion County contingency that takes issue with the state party's leadership. The statewide candidates and Parker's allies chose him. We'll have more later today on why Parker will remain on-board as chairman. 2) Newt Gingrich is doubling down on his criticism of activist judges. He's playing to the base in the lead-up to Iowa. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is still going on offense against Gingrich, suggesting he still feels he has to make up ground against the former Speaker. During a rare Sunday show appearance, Romney once again criticized Gingrich for not supporting House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's original proposal to revamp Medicare. Romney had a chance to go after Gingrich on the issue during the final Iowa debate, but notably did not, instead opting to offer praise for the recently released Ryan-Wyden plan. 1) The Des Moines Register endorsed Romney over the weekend, writing, "rebuilding the economy is the nation's top priority, and Romney makes the best case among the Republicans that he could do that." It's the highest-profile newspaper endorsement a candidate can receive in the state, and with polling showing Romney as a second choice candidate, the coveted nod should give him a boost, and prompt some undecided voters to at least give him a closer look. In addition to the DMR nod, former Sen. Bob Dole also announced he is backing Romney. Jessica Taylor contributed.

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