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Palin endorses Miller in U.S. Senate race; her father-in-law picks Treadwell

Nathaniel Herz

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller on Friday, four days in advance of a hard-fought GOP primary election.

In a written statement to Fox News, Palin, a contributor to the network, was quoted as saying: “We said we’d send the good guys in Washington their reinforcements, so, Alaska, here we go! Vote for Joe Miller on Tuesday and shake off the liberal stronghold so we can get on the right track.”

Palin, who served as governor from late 2006 until her resignation in mid-2009, also backed Miller in 2010, when he beat incumbent U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary but lost to her in the general election.

This time around, Miller has two major opponents, former state attorney general and natural resources commissioner Dan Sullivan, and Mead Treadwell, Alaska’s current lieutenant governor.

Palin’s endorsement said, “We must send fighters to the U.S. Senate who will stop Barack Obama’s fundamental transformation of the nation we love.”

“The status quo has got to go, and in Alaska the man who understands this key to our state and country’s future also has the guts, wisdom, experience and optimism to fight for what is right — and win,” the endorsement said.

Palin did not respond to a request for comment through her husband, Todd.

It’s unclear just how much the endorsement will help Miller: A poll released this week showed just 36 percent of respondents in Alaska viewed Palin favorably, versus 55 percent who view her negatively.

“That’s not really a plus, Joe, but you still have my vote!” one supporter wrote on a Facebook post from Miller’s campaign touting the endorsement. The comment is no longer visible.

By Friday evening, at least one Anchorage resident received an automated phone call from Palin encouraging a primary vote for Miller. Miller’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for a tape of the call.

Treadwell’s campaign, meanwhile, reminded reporters of its own Palin endorsement — this one from Jim Palin, Sarah’s father-in-law, who backed Treadwell in a letter to a Mat-Su newspaper in June.

Asked about the Sullivan campaign’s lack of Palin endorsements, spokesman Mike Anderson said, “Dan was honored to work for her,” referring to Sullivan’s service under Palin as attorney general.

The case of the dueling Palin endorsements took a strange twist Friday evening: As Jim Palin was appearing on a talk show on Valley radio station KVNT, Sarah Palin called in.

“Papa Jim, how are you?” Sarah Palin said.

Asked by host Tom Anderson for her thoughts on Jim Palin’s endorsement, Sarah Palin responded: “Well, I love Jim Palin.”

“I love my family more than life itself,” she said, as a baby can be overheard squealing in the background. “He’s a very intelligent man, full of integrity, and I respect his decision to be supporting Mead. They do have a great relationship.

“It’s healthy to have healthy debate, and that’s what some of our politics is all about. It’s all good,” Sarah Palin said.
Jim Palin then said he wanted to add “one little thing.”

“If my lovely daughter-in-law was running for this Senate seat at this time, I would certainly be supporting her,” Jim Palin said. “But she’s not running, and I’m supporting Mead.”