WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty, two Republicans widely viewed as possible 2012 White House hopefuls, weighed in Thursday night on the closely-watched special election in New York's 23rd congressional district. They chose very different approaches - but neither endorsed the GOP candidate.
Calling it a matter of principle, Palin - the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate - bucked her party and enthusiastically endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava. The race has attracted national attention, especially from grassroots activists who accuse Scozzafava of not being conservative enough to run under the Republican party mantle.
"Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty," the former Alaska governor wrote on her Facebook page. "Political parties must stand for something."
Palin then urged her supporters to donate to Hoffman, who she said "has not been anointed by any political machine."
Just minutes before she made the announcement, Pawlenty happened to be speaking to reporters in Washington after a fundraiser for his new political action committee. The Minnesota governor refused to make an endorsement when asked about the race.
"You know I haven't been following that, I haven't studied the race at all," he said. "It's not that I would or wouldn't, I just don't know anything about it. I haven't taken the time to study their positions, their records, so I haven't taken a position on it."
The Minnesota governor did venture to make a prediction in two other high-profile campaigns, the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races. Pawlenty predicted victory for Republicans, but quickly hedged on New Jersey.
"I think we're going to win them both," he said. "In New Jersey, I don't want to get ahead of ourselves. But it sure looks like Republicans are going to win in Virginia. New Jersey's going to be a closer call, but that's also a tougher state for Republicans. But if the election were held today I think we'd win them both."
Scozzafava and Hoffman are on the ballot along with Democrat Bill Owens. Election Day is November 3.
UPDATE: Another conservative who may have an interest in running for the GOP presidential nomination is weighing in on the race.
Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, said he supports Hoffman. Filling in as guest host Friday morning on Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" national radio program, Santorum said "the Republican candidate has been in the process of disqualifying herself."
"You're not throwing your vote away on [Hoffman]," added Santorum.
"This is a race that we need to win," said Santorum, who added that even though he's never endorsed a third party candidate before, he thinks Hoffman is the best chance to win.
Santorum last month acknowledged his interest in a possible 2012 bid for the White House. His September trip to Iowa also raised eyebrows. While Santorum lost his 2006 re-election bid, he's still well regarded in Republican circles, especially among social conservatives.
What a slap in the face!
Thanks Palin, you insured a victory for the Dem. All the Palinbot zombies will be marching to her tune.
and what a surprise.... this moron is dangerous.
What does Palin think she is doing? Why did she abandon the people of Alaska? The job was just too hard.
She doesn't have a prayer in politics, maybe she could do better in a beauty contest. Thats all she has going for herself.
Help or Harm? you tell me!
Poor Doug Hoffman, I bet he really wanted to win this race and Sarah had to go and endorse him and ruin it all. Oh well, better luck next time!
Palin's endorsement means nothing. Palin is a nobody.
low taxes, strong national defense. No contradiction here?
So clueless....so many of these people who want smaller government want a stonger military....DUH!!!! Isn't the military part of the government? Yeah for Sarah, maybe she'll run as an independent and I'll be able to at least consider the Republican candidate again next election.
What a classic insider/outsider divide. A fabulous prelude – the Republican party dilemma which will doubtless unfold for our entertainment in the years ahead.
What are they hoping for? A miracle??
Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't.
Now that she won't be my president, she can be as nutty as she wants to be.
I agree we need less intrusive government. To me that means the federal government should not interfere with my pursue of happyiness even that means marrying another man or if my wife chooses to have an abortion. If less governmental means weakling the state's rights in favor of a national government I'm all for it. But if less government says that the feds can dictate to states if they can legalize pot, or if the feds can force me to have health care insurance from some money hungry insurance company while running up the national debt then I'm with Sarah. If she wants to continue a war I didn't approve and makes me less safer then I'm against it.
palin white house hopefull reader her book somebody wrote for her politic,s for dummies
Palin picks another winner! Great endorsement for Hoffman, the 2nd biggest name in politics besides the POUTS! Way to go SARAH!!!
I can't even stand to look at her ...
She doesn't have a chance in 2012
They'll be lucky if there is still a Republican party in 2012
The American people have finally figured these low life's out ...
palin please stay out of NY races!
you do no good to any republican if you endorse them, but hey that's another democrat win for ny )
I feel bad for republicans lol
Pres o, you are my vote in 2012!
And Palin is relevant because? Who really cares what she thinks, does or says? The sooner the media stops reporting her every bowel movement, the sooner she will disappear into the oblivion she came frome.
If these are considered the 2 front runners for the Republican party in 2012, that's pretty sad and pathetic. Definitely not likely to sway moderates, independents, or Democrats.
Thats like me endorsing someone. Who is she anyway.? A one time half term governor? If only 20% say they are republicans then they must all be writting here on CNN. Never say so many stupid mean comments
I typed "kiss of death" into Google and got a link to a winking Sarah Palin pic.
With that endorsement, Hoffman just slipped on his cement flippers to go swimming into the political pool.
Palin Over Estimates her Capabilities.
She was nominated as a V.P Candidate, She Lost.
Now she thinks she is Qualified for the President.
What a Delusion, False Impression, she has about herself.
Are we living in America? Do we have insane Leaders like Palin?
I am sure the Standard has gone down. We now have Low I.Q. Politicians.
I'd bet dollars to donuts that nobody in America (or outside America) really wants to see Sarah Palin, or anyone she supports get elected to any governmental position.
Great, first the Palins follow the Alaskan Independence movement. Now they're for jump-starting the "Conservative" party. Republicans aren't really taking this individual seriously for 2012 are they?