Palin Endorses Three "True Conservative" Women
Sarah Palin, who announced a number of midterm endorsements recently, signaled a spring awakening for fellow mamma grizzlies this week, throwing her support behind three female House and Senate candidates on Thursday after backing Iowa’s Joni Ernst the day before.
The latest Republican recipients of the Tea Party star’s coveted imprimatur are Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, who’s running in her state’s 19th Congressional District; and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and Minnesota state Sen. Julianne Ortman, both of whom are U.S. Senate candidates.
All three endorsements were announced on the former Alaska governor’s Facebook page, and all hit upon a familiar theme: her support for “true conservatives.”
“Lizbeth is running against a wealthy self-funded candidate with lots of splashy campaign ads claiming to be a conservative,” Palin wrote in an apparent reference to Curt Clawson, who was endorsed by the Tea Party Express. “Look at a candidate’s record, not just their rhetoric. Lizbeth is a genuine conservative with a track record to prove it.”
On her own Facebook page, Benacquisto said she was “[h]onored by the support of fellow conservative and patriot Governor Sarah Palin.”
Handel was endorsed by the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential candidate in 2010 when she ran unsuccessfully for governor of the Peach State. In 2012, the pro-life Handel resigned her position as vice president of the Susan G. Komen foundation following her efforts to cut funding channeled from the breast cancer nonprofit to Planned Parenthood.
“Listen to what Karen says in her debates and candidate forums, and you’ll hear a true conservative leader who can win in November. This Georgia Senate race is very important to the Democrats and has long-term repercussions for 2016 as Democrats test the waters to see if they can win big in a red state with a woman candidate,” Palin wrote.
Handel’s campaign Facebook page returned the compliment, saying Palin “is a conservative leader and . . . I am thrilled to have her on my team.”
The RCP average of recent polls finds Handel dead last among the five candidates seeking the GOP nomination and a likely matchup with Michelle Nunn, daughter of former longtime Sen. Sam Nunn.
A 12-year state senator, Ortman is challenging Democrat Al Franken in Minnesota. Palin contrasted her qualifications with those of the incumbent, whom she labeled a “clown.” (Franken had a successful career as a comedian before entering politics.)
Ortman “is a conservative champion. … She is running a grassroots campaign against a well-funded favorite of the Washington GOP establishment whose policy record is a blank slate,” Palin said in her endorsement.
The latter reference is to fellow Republican candidate Mike McFadden, for whom the National Republican Senatorial Committee hosted a fundraiser earlier this month.
Polling shows Ortman holding a slight advantage over McFadden. Though the latter has raised more money, Ortman drew two points more support than McFadden in hypothetical matchups against Minnesota’s junior senator in a March 3 KSTP/USA survey, where Franken beat Ortman 49 percent to 41 percent.
Appropriating a popular Franken comedy routine from his time at “Saturday Night Live,” Palin wrote that Ortman “is good enough, she is smart enough, and doggone it, people like her.”
For her part, the candidate said on Facebook that she is honored to have Palin “on our side as we fight to defeat Al Franken!"