Trump was reportedly instrumental in convincing her to run to fill the seat of long-term conservative Republican Don Young, who died last month at the age of 88. Palin announced she was running last Friday. It’s Alaska’s only congressional seat.
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“Sarah shocked many when she endorsed me early in 2016, and we won big,” boasted Trump in a statement. “Now it’s my turn. Sarah has been a champion for Alaska values, Alaska energy, Alaska jobs, and the great people of Alaska.” And she’s against the “fake news,” Trump noted.
He claimed Palin “lifted the [John] McCain presidential campaign out of the dumps despite the fact that she had to endure some very evil, stupid and jealous people.”
In fact, gaffe-prone Palin was widely viewed as grossly unqualified to be a vice president (certainly not a president), and a key reason why Sen. McCain didn’t have a better shot at the presidency against Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 election. McCain himself later said he regretted his decision to name Palin as his running mate.
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Trump also hailed Palin as one of the “most popular governors” in Alaska, even though she walked away from the job in 2009, the last time she held a political position — a full 18 months before the end of her term ― in what was seen as an unpopular move.
Longtime pollster Ivan Moore of Alaska Survey Research told Politico: “Let’s face it, she has been substantively underwater for many, many years now, and it really dates back to when she quit. Alaskans weren’t very impressed with that.”
Palin tweeted in response to Trump’s endorsement: “Thank you, President Trump! Honored to have your support in our campaign for Alaska!”
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Trump’s former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley also tweeted an endorsement for Palin on Sunday, saying, “We need her voice in Congress.”
The special election to fill Young’s seat begins with an open primary on June 11 with all candidates on one ballot. The top four finishers will appear on the general election ballot in August.