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Last-second US Senate race endorsements: Huckabee for Miller, Aldrin for Treadwell

Nathaniel Herz

Republican U.S. Senate candidates Joe Miller and Mead Treadwell announced a last-second pair of endorsements Sunday and Monday, with Miller getting support from 2012 presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Treadwell getting a lift from Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut who in 1969 became the second person to set foot on the moon.

The Republican primary is Tuesday, and the major candidates include Miller, Treadwell, and Dan Sullivan.

Huckabee, in a statement provided by Miller’s campaign, is quoted as saying that Miller “embodies the kind of values our country so desperately needs.”

Miller “is unequivocally pro-life, pro-family, and pro-traditional marriage,” the statement quotes Huckabee as saying. “And above all, he understands that life and liberty come from God.”

Miller last week was endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but Huckabee’s support might be even more valuable -- at least according to one metric. A poll released last week by North Carolina firm Public Policy Polling said just 36 percent of Alaska voters had a positive view of Palin, who lost to Hillary Clinton by six points in a hypothetical 2016 presidential matchup in the state. Huckabee, meanwhile, would beat Clinton by eight points, the poll said.

No recent polls appear to have assessed Aldrin’s popularity in Alaska, but Treadwell nonetheless held a news conference Monday morning in Fairbanks touting the endorsement.

Aldrin didn’t appear, but in a letter -- written, Aldrin said, “from one frontier to another” -- the 84-year-old described how he had known Treadwell for nearly three decades, and how the two had fished together in Prince William Sound alongside former Alaska Gov. Wally Hickel.

“Mead is a champion of science, technology and exploration,” Aldrin said in his letter. “He will continue to push for Arctic exploration that could produce more energy and jobs for America, and he’ll make sure we have the science to do it right.”

Aldrin, who was born in New Jersey, also delicately addressed the allegations that have flown during the U.S. Senate campaign about meddling from non-Alaskan groups.

“I know there has been a lot of talk about outside interference,” Aldrin wrote, “so I hope you don’t mind the out-of-this-world suggestion from an Apollo 11 astronaut.”

Asked about the last-minute endorsements, a spokesman for Sullivan said: “The real buzz in this primary election is Dan Sullivan’s strong conservative grassroots support and momentum as we enter this final stretch.”

Sullivan has collected his own set of endorsements, including from former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and conservative group Club for Growth.