Trump endorses Sarah Palin for Alaska US House seat

<span>Photograph: Kamil Krzaczyński/Reuters</span>

Photograph: Kamil Krzaczyński/Reuters

Donald Trump has endorsed the former governor and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin for the vacant congressional seat in Alaska.

“Sarah shocked many when she endorsed me very early in 2016, and we won big,” the former president said in a statement on Sunday night.

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“Now, it’s my turn! Sarah has been a champion for Alaska values, Alaska energy, Alaska jobs and the great people of Alaska.”

In 2016, Palin was the first current or former state office holder to endorse Trump. She announced her own run on Friday.

The Alaska House seat is open after the death of Don Young, the Republican who held it for nearly 50 years. An open primary will pit more than 50 contenders from all parties against each other.

Palin rose to fame when John McCain made her his surprise pick for vice-president in the 2008 election.

The Alaska governor proved popular with the Republican base but struggled with the demands of the role and a fierce media spotlight. McCain and Palin were soundly beaten by Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Palin maintained a presence on the hard Republican right through the emergence of the Tea Party movement against Obama and then Trump’s rise to power. After appearances on reality TV, the former governor returned to the political spotlight recently when she sued the New York Times for defamation, and lost.

Last month, Palin told Fox News America needed “people like Donald Trump, who has nothing to lose, like me. We’ve got nothing to lose and no more of this vanilla milquetoast, namby-pamby, wussy-pussy stuff that’s been going on”.

On Friday, announcing her run for Congress, she said: “America is at a tipping point. As I’ve watched the far left destroy the country, I knew I had to step up and join the fight.”

Trump’s endorsement remains prized in Republican circles although some have come to doubt its potency in every race.

Last month, Trump withdrew an endorsement of Mo Brooks, a congressman seeking a Senate seat in Alabama. The two men ostensibly fell out over Trump’s demands that Brooks help “rescind” the 2020 election, which Trump lost to Joe Biden. Critics also pointed to Brooks’s poor polling.

Some Republicans reportedly fear Trump’s fixation on past battles and slights could damage their chances of retaking Congress in November.

In his statement in support of Palin, Trump took a shot at McCain – a Republican grandee who never bent the knee, but who died in 2018.

“Sarah lifted the McCain presidential campaign out of the dumps,” he said, “despite the fact that she had to endure some very evil, stupid, and jealous people within the campaign itself.

“They were out to destroy her, but she didn’t let that happen. Sarah Palin is tough and smart and will never back down.”

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