October 23rd, 2009
12:02 PM ET
5 years ago

Palin endorses in New York race, while Pawlenty holds back

Sarah Palin endorsed Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman in the upstate New York special election.
Sarah Palin endorsed Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman in the upstate New York special election.

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.


Filed under: Dede Scozzafava • Doug Hoffman • NY-23 • Sarah Palin • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Billy-Bob-Earl-Darrel-Darryl 12 Pak_Capt. James T. Kirk in a Pink TuTu

    Sarah who?

    October 23, 2009 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  2. tooley

    Palin who? She needs to take care of her kids and finish building the Palin North Western White House next to her existing house.

    October 23, 2009 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  3. Kel

    I highly doubt Sarah did any research either. In fact, I doubt she ever really does. She doesn't seem the type to be a life-long learner. Indeed if she had done some more learning she might be able to construct a coherent thought (or at the very least be able to articulate one). She just goes on her "gut" feeling no matter how irrational it is. Really, I've tried to like her. She might actually be a wonderful person. But everytime she opens her mouth I am forced to think the worst of her. It's actually quite painful to listen to.

    October 23, 2009 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  4. Motive

    Republican Party vs Conservative Party.

    is she the Yoko Ono of the right wing.

    October 23, 2009 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  5. Bugl3t

    I can't say that I'd WANT her endorsement!

    But isn't Pawlenty wishy-washy? What? Is he afraid that if she endorsed the one he didn't and that her pick wins... he loses face? Or what?

    October 23, 2009 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  6. willmccorkle

    I love how Sarah Palin can go around talking about other campaigns, but can even finish her own term as governor. This is a joke......

    October 23, 2009 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  7. Steve

    That's gotta be the kiss of death for any candidate to be endorsed by DumbDumb Palin. Why this woman is still in the public eye is beyond me. She is white trash and she is totally uneducated. Go back to Alaska, where you quit doing your job a few months ago!

    October 23, 2009 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  8. Tom in Delaware

    Excellent move by Palin, she now forces other Republicans to take a stand.

    Ole' Dede makes Alren Spectre look Conservative.

    October 23, 2009 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  9. Good for her

    Glad to see she went this way. I Hope this guy wins along with the third party guy in the New Jersey race. It's time to get rid of this Dem/Rep biopoly. It's actually a monopoly when you get right down to it. Not much difference between either of them. Like the old song says:

    "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you"

    October 23, 2009 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  10. Stu- SW Florida

    "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."

    Did these two go to the same schools??
    Widely viewed as possible 2012 White House hopefuls???
    As what? Cleaning staff?
    Is this the offerings from the GOP? It's no wonder... quite literally!

    October 23, 2009 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  11. Marie MD

    Excuse me CNN, but can we move this woman's story to entertainment? She is NO LONGER A POLITICAL FIGURE (not that she ever was anything worth a politician). While I still don't understand your fascination with quitters and losers at least put her in her place.
    In her ramblings she forgot about the "real" Americans, the terrorists friends (except she slept with Communists in Hong Kong) and the secession from the US.
    Even Anna Nicole Smith is making a comeback and she is dead!

    October 23, 2009 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  12. bernice

    For anyone that needs Palin's support is scrapping the bottom of the barrel...REST IN PEACE REFLUBS!!!!

    October 23, 2009 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  13. Stacie

    When I read this, the only take away I have is Dede Scozzafava isn't crazy enough for the far right-wing nuts who are sadly the only people left in the Republican party. Maybe Dede should scream "you lie" randomly at people walking down the street who "look liberal".

    October 23, 2009 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  14. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Palin spouts out the same mumbo jumbo. So vague and generic. Uses the same line for everybody. She knows nothing about who she "endorses". Why doesn't she quit hiding behind Facebook and Twitter and do a LIVE interview on Meet The Press? Because she'll end up looking like the idiot she is!

    October 23, 2009 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  15. Canadian

    All of you making the "I can see blah blah from my window", "you betchya" and "wink, wink" remarks still bout pee yourself laughing at Jeff Foxworthy's decade old redneck jokes too, eh?

    October 23, 2009 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  16. Jeff In Ohio

    Endorsed by a quitter.

    October 23, 2009 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  17. jay

    NO offense to Mr. Pawlenty, but it seems to me if you are being mentioned a sa potential Presidential candidate, you might wanna be up to date...with some of the big races, and/or races of your party.

    October 23, 2009 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  18. Ralph Kramden

    I am so sad that a vice-president candidate could say such hurtful things about such a wonderful person like our president. Barack is the greatest man in the history of America. No other president holds a candle to him. He is smart and caring. He is the wind beneth our feet and all of America loves him and what he has done for our country. Bush is to blame so stop beating up Barack. We now have a hero so leave him alone and quit pushing him for results.

    October 23, 2009 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  19. Pragmatic

    Palin can't even stay the course and finish the job she was elected to do in Alaska. New Yorkers could care less what Palin has to say about our elections. It's so boringly predictable: she's going "rouge" – term used for out of control elephants ....

    October 23, 2009 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  20. LG

    I'm old enough to remember how the Democratic Party had to find a way to tone down the left wing following the disastrous elections of the late 60's and early 70's. Many left wingers were saying much the same as today's conservatives in terms of the need for political purity and disdain for centrists. Today's democrats lean toward the left but are not dominated by them.

    Today, the Republican Party is facing a similar challenge. The key difference however is that the extreme right has well-entrenched and well-funded support thanks to spokespersons like Fox News, Limbaugh, Palin, Cheney, .... How will the party control their dominance without completely alienating them?

    We need strong parties each to keep the other honest. The Republicans are at risk of becoming a fringe party - a condition that will be bad for everyone.

    October 23, 2009 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  21. disillusioned republican

    I find it remarkable that someone would actually WANT her endorsement, especially after she abandoned her elected position for financial gain and to try worming her way into the next presidential race.

    October 23, 2009 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  22. Reality

    I'm sure the libs will atack the woman in droves for her name, but at least she knows her convictions and she stands by them. Gotta respect her for that. Try it sometime liberals.

    October 23, 2009 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  23. cfrench

    Sarah Palin would be the kiss of death for any candidate supported by intelligent people. But when it comes to supporters of neo-conservative republicans, she might be just what the doctor ordered. A sad commentary on the state of the republican party.

    October 23, 2009 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  24. Mark L.

    Sarah Palin – I would like to endorse Tina Fey for New York's 23rd congressional district.

    October 23, 2009 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  25. cbc

    ...it will be interesting to watch the GOP break apart into two parties.

    October 23, 2009 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
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