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.
Who cares about whom the barking pitbull with lipstick endorses. That person will lose anyway. No need to waste money contributing.
Epic. Dr. Frankenstien, you're monster seems to have gone rogue ... Let the good times roll.
"Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share:
Okay. Yet, don't you have a REPUBLICAN running in that race? And would'nt your fellow nutjobs call this interfering in the ever-sacrosanct political process, or is that just when the President campaigns for someone?
Ex-Gov Alaska Palin reminds me of the Ballon Boy Family. Media seekers. She is shamefully what I regret seeing as a representative of my gender for any political office. Her lame excuses for favoritism and elitism is not appreciated or dismissed by batting her eyelashes. The fact her statements are uneducated and contrary to acceptance of others but more on the lines of continuing the divide and concur method of Atwater, Rove and Schmidt. Does the Republican party not understand that the American public is sick and tired of this kind of personality and approach?
Another facebook announcement from the former Governor. At least Pawlenty is out there actually facing the public, rather than sitting behind a computer like the wizard behind the curtain...except of course when she hits the road to sell her book...
good for Palin–someone that is brave enough and confident enough to uphold conservative values. On NJ–I wish the people voting for the independent would realize they are handing the election to the Dems who do not deserve it.
Smaller Government + Big Business = Bannana Republic.
There's alot of money to be made, so let's substitute Government with Politics. The irony here is government is truly nonbipartisan while politics are strictly partisan.
The first, a savy user of facebook and twitter.
The second, doesn't have a opinion.
I think the world would be a better place if we let the crazies and unware run it.
At least Sarah has endorsed the best person for the job,Now to convince the sheeple that we have a problem and need to get things right from the start and away from the Demo/Rep party lines.
Wouldn't a Palin endorsement count as anointment by a political machine? Or is the GOP so small now that their influence is unnoticeable? And wasn't Pawlenty supposed to be Grampaw McCain's VP pick anyway? See, he's the one who still has his job as governor!
An endorsement for governor by a ex-governor who quit her job in midterm and left her state in a lurch. Absolutely meaningless and impertinent.
Yep that's Phewlenty, he holds back.....he holds back funding for hospitals, health care, schools, roads, bridges, while he gives to tax breaks and big business....gee how more republican can you get.
His role model George W. Bush.
Keep it up Sarah. When the GOP is down to 10% of the country and only purists are allowed, you'll be happy and the real race each year between mainstream candidates will take place in Democratic primaries.
Ms. Palin the majority of this country doesn't care what you think. You're only trying to stay in the spotlight because you can make more money. You have no qualifications to endorse anyone. How does a person who resigned as a governor try to endorse someone who wants the job?
You're a loser. The average IQ of your followers is less than the people who follow Obama.
Pailin has propably given Hoffman the kiss of death.
At least Pawlenty had the sense to realize he knows nothing about the NY-23 race. Its amazing the attention this race has gotten, and how willing the Conservatives are to diss the GOP candidate.
I saw an interview of Hoffman last night, and he seems bewildered by the attention. He was standing next to Dick Armey, who flatout stated his willingness to ram ideology down the throats of the people of the district. The whole conservative/moderate split really started playing itself out in NY 40 years ago, and its devastated the GOP here: their voter base is dying off (literally), and is being replaced by a smaller, far-right fragment that cannot win a statewide election, and has been routed from areas that have not voted Democratic in over a century.
Does anyone care who PALIN endorses??? I think she put the WAMMY on Hoffman because he "has not been anointed by any political machine" and she decided to ANOINT him!!! LOL
The more conservative the republican party gets the tighter the noose around their neck. America had enough conservatism. Remember last November?
Palin's endorsement is reason enough to vote for anyone else. If she endorsed me I would disavow it and tell her to mind her own business and to go back home and stay ther. She is going to give the guy the kiss of death.
Why does CNN even waste time with the worthless wench?
Palin is a nobody. She's a lunatic and a quitter and if you don't mind, I would rather not have to see her face in my news anymore. I'm also betting the poor schmuck she's endorsing feels the same way.
GO for it, no more party hacks, no more approved party runners that owe favors for past services. SO far in my area I'm not going for either party, all old hacks, I'd vote for a commie before I'd vote for a repub or democrat, it could not be any worse based on the current parties performance for the last 15 years.
A intellectially inept soccer mom as President of the United States.......What on earth is the republican party thinking of?
Oh yea I forgot they elected George Bush.....The dumbest of them all
Ms. Republican herself almost sounds like she's trying to start her own ultra-conservative political party.
Poor guy. He may have had a chance too.