October 23rd, 2009
12:02 PM ET
4 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. Richie

    Is it just me or does Pawlenty sound almost as illiterate as Palin in that quote?

    October 23, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. Rob R

    That's the end of Doug's bid....see ya!

    October 23, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  3. CR

    Sarah Palin is the Typhoid Mary of the Republican Party. Keeping adding more poison to the well Ms. Palin. Purify what's left of the GOP out of existence.

    October 23, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  4. Rob

    Who is Sarah Palin?

    October 23, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. Bear

    Why should any listen or even care what this “quitter” has to say?

    October 23, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. JP

    Sara just doesn't get it. She caused McCain to lose the election. I am a rebublican who believes that the far right social conservatives are destroying the party. If she is on the ticket in 2012 I am staying home on election day.

    October 23, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. Sniffit

    There it is again!!! The "speaking fist"!!! God I hate that thing....point, slam your hand on the podium...please, DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING, OTHER THAN THAT CONTRIVED "SPEAKING FIST" CRAP!!!!!

    October 23, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. txleadhead

    Who cares what this fool says. If she's GOP'S savior then they can't scrape the bottom of the barrel any lower. Bush looks intelligent next to her. That should tell you something. Also, that hairdo went out in the sixties.Maybe she wanted to be a B-52.

    October 23, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. larry

    Why does CNN cater to Palin. Cnn hangs on every word she says and everything she does like it is news. She quit her job as governor...Cnn give it a break. She is not worth reporting on.

    October 23, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. James

    This could be the kiss of death for Hoffman. Either that or we can add it to the list of "Things Sarah Palin will do to try and keep her name out there."

    October 23, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Guy

    Enough of Sarah Palin.

    October 23, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. Alan

    Congratulations Mrs Palin for standing up for conservatism and helping American families who are suffering under the 2 party system. The current corruption we are witnessing from the Democrats is unmatched in scale and will be dealt with in anger soon enough.

    October 23, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. James Brooklny N.Y.

    The endorsement should kill his chances. Palin is like a leech and will suck the life out of anyone she touches.

    October 23, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. RICK FROM PA

    First of all, who is she to endorse anyone and secondly why does CNN always "highlight" any stories about her?

    October 23, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Terry from West Texas

    "...the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty..."

    And when has any Republican reduced the size of government? What Republican has reduced taxes on the middle class? What Republican has expanded or enhanced individual liberty? What Republican has made the world a more secure place for Americans to live in? What is that Republican's name? What policies did he implement? The answer: no Republican, ever.

    Stop listening to Conservative rhetoric and start paying attention to Republican actions. What Republicans say is not what Republicans do.

    October 23, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. zippy29

    Palin has no voice in anything.

    October 23, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. James E

    Typical of Palin, when the GOP thinks she's the greatest thing for the party, what does she do, support a 3rd party candidate simply he's more conservative than the Republican. Even her statement is similar to Reagan who created a $3T under his tenure and he said "it was his greatest disappointment of his presidency."

    October 23, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Kathleen

    Palin a likely candidate to run for the presidency – are you kidding?

    October 23, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. Terry Gloege

    Who cares?

    October 23, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Go away Sarah. No one cares.

    October 23, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. Jeff Shaw

    The value of her learned endorsements will have the same impact as receiving one from the other notable political scientist, "Joe the Plumber". By the way, whatever happened to him.

    October 23, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. carol

    Who cares who she endorses? The person she endorses should run in the other direction very, very fast!

    October 23, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. Paul in Louisville

    In the reality-based world, this should be the death knell for this guy. Of course, the extreme right-wing do not live in a reality-based world...scary.

    October 23, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Andrew

    Who care. Palin is irrelevant. Why is CNN continually posting stories on her?

    October 23, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  25. jon,philadelphia

    Does anyone really care what this half-wit has to say?

    October 23, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
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