May 6th, 2010
03:42 PM ET
4 years ago

Palin irks her supporters with California endorsement

Sarah Palin endorsed Carly Fiorina in the California Senate race on Thursday.
Sarah Palin endorsed Carly Fiorina in the California Senate race on Thursday.

Washington (CNN) – Sarah Palin broke ranks with the conservative movement on Thursday and endorsed former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in California's Republican Senate primary, prompting a flurry of criticism from many of her loyal supporters.

After Palin announced the endorsement on her Facebook page, a number of her followers questioned why she would side with Fiorina instead of the more conservative candidate in the race, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.

DeVore has the backing of several leading voices in the conservative movement, including Sen. Jim DeMint, RedState.com editor Erick Erickson and the Tea Party Express.

Though a handful of readers agreed with Palin's decision, most were upset.

"This is very, very disappointing," Rick Sheridan, one of her supporters, posted on Palin's page. "Sarah, you've got to be more careful. This woman does not represent conservative values. And the choice is so clear. Serious damage to your base here."

"Wow, Sarah...I'm saddened and shocked by your decision to endorse Carly Fiorina," commented another backer, Jennifer Goode. "Had you done your research, you would have found that Chuck DeVore is the ONLY true conservative in the California Senate race."

Also in the GOP race is former Rep. Tom Campbell, who has maintained a steady lead over his opponents in recent polls. The Republican nominee will take on Sen. Barbara Boxer in the general election.

The former Alaska governor explained her decision to wade into the primary by taking a shot at Campbell - but she made no mention of DeVore.

"I'm a huge proponent of contested primaries, so I'm glad to see the contest in California's GOP, but I support Carly as she fights through a tough primary against a liberal member of the GOP who seems to bear almost no difference to Boxer, one of the most leftwing members of the Senate," Palin wrote.

DeVore spokesman Joshua Trevino said the swift reaction from conservatives online speaks for itself.

"I think the best I can do is point you toward the responses from the conservative base on Palin's Facebook page, and on Twitter: there's a lot of them respectfully but firmly telling the former Governor that she's been misled here. And they're right," he said in an email.

Palin also irked some conservatives earlier this year when she endorsed Sen. John McCain, who elevated Palin to the national stage, in his Senate primary battle against former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

Her loyalty to McCain may have been a factor in the California race, as well. Fiorina was one of McCain's economic advisers during the presidential campaign, and last year she told reporters: "I share Sarah Palin's values."

UPDATE: Fiorina's team disputed the notion that Palin's endorsement is inconsistent with the the Tea Party movement. Spokeswoman Julie Soderlund pointed to a recent Field Poll that found Tea Party supporters prefer Fiorina over Campbell and DeVore.

"Whether or not Chuck DeVore wants to admit it, Carly is a conservative and political outsider," Soderlund said.

Campbell's campaign, meanwhile, said the endorsement is nothing more than an "IOU from the 2008 election cycle."

"California voters are not buying that a failed CEO can be an effective U.S. Senator," a Campbell spokesman said. "Voters are looking for a Republican with a balance of experience, a real record fighting wasteful federal spending and the ability to defeat Barbara Boxer - and poll after poll says that Republican is Tom Campbell."

UPDATE 2: Palin updated her Facebook post after the uproar and listed Fiorina's conservative credentials, including her opposition to abortion rights, her support for gun rights and opposition to "Obamacare."

"And most importantly, Carly is the only conservative in the race who can beat Barbara Boxer," she wrote. "That’s no RINO. That’s a winner."


Filed under: 2010 • California • Carly Fiorina • Chuck DeVore • Extra • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin • Tom Campbell
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. Sean

    When will people stop being so selfish and realize that we need to support candidates that can represent ALL their constituents, not just the conservative ones, or the liberal ones. This "us & them" mentality is what's dragging our country down.

    May 6, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. jon

    Drill, baby, drill.... Another disaster in the making! Can't wait for the other endorsements to come rolling in with the tide

    May 6, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Chris

    Ha, don't care. In Sarah we Trust!

    May 6, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. Bosco

    SP is a low-life bottom-feeding liar who will do and say anything in a desperate attempt to get attention, money and ultimately, votes.

    Do not forget her shrill cry: "Drill! Drill!"

    She should sit down, shut up, obey her husband and raise her babies like the good Christian mother she pretends she is.

    May 6, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. The Party of No - Ideas

    Maybe she had a flashback to her "mavericky" days.

    May 6, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. Mark

    Palin 2096 or never

    May 6, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. GOP = the great white dinosaur

    At least she is irking her supporters now, not just the rest of us that see through her crap.

    May 6, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Rob Richardson

    Wow! Sarah Palin thinking for herself? What is the world coming to?

    Or is she merely mindlessly being misled somehow? I think that's more likely, considering the level of intelligence she has displayed in the past.

    May 6, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Matt

    The fact that this woman appears to be a relevant national political option for so many people is frightening. I don't think she's altogether unintelligent, but she is not nearly sophisticated enough to play at that level. A church leader, maybe. A local politician, maybe. Anything past that and I'm afraid she's going to be out of her element, to her detriment and that of anyone she's charged with representing.

    May 6, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    She can't vote in California, She does not share our views. She probably can't even spell California.
    Why would Republicans care what she thinks?
    Do people really vote based on endorsements?
    When will we finally be through having to listen to her?

    May 6, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Realistic

    Palin is Palin, no reason for what she does or commone sense..

    May 6, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. Gary

    Sarah Palin is just not bright enough to even understand the political philosphy she is supposed to follow. Her handlers need a tighter control on her strings.

    May 6, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Wisconsinite

    Don't blame poor little Sarah! She probably had the wrong name written on her hand!

    May 6, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Zeepzorp

    The more she talks, the more irrelevant she becomes. Keep talking Sarah.

    May 6, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. Steve, New York City

    This might have actually been one of Palin's smarter decisions. I think that she demonstrates that "it's not necessary to be an unapologetic extremist" in order to receive Palin's support. Of course, I still think that Palin is a far cry from being qualified to hold any major federal political office.

    May 6, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. Bob Dog

    More fabulous entertainment from the repubs. Sarah Palin endorses a complete self-serving failure like Carly Fiorina, for all the wrong reasons. Then her supporters on the far, extreme right are angry because the only thing that isn't ugly about Fiorina is that she is moderate. So now, everyone is pissed, and Sarah looks like an even greater idiot (if possible).

    Its so fulfilling to see nearly every repub angry at nearly every other repub, for every possible cheap, superficial, and meaningless reason.

    You can't buy this kind of wonderful entertainment!

    May 6, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Jan

    You CNN, I think, are making a big deal over nothing.

    May 6, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. FactCheck

    Does she get a speaking fee and "complementary" set of wardrobe? I can't see why she would do this otherwise.

    May 6, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Micky

    Go Sarah! Palin 2012

    May 6, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Saint Genesius

    Or....Maybeeee....Sarah Palin is just a dilettante who does not have any real values and is only in it for the money and, most importantly, the attention.

    Maybe, just maybe.

    May 6, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. Former Republican

    When will her supporters finally realize this person is an IDIOT?

    May 6, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Wayne

    Matt, I couldn't agree with you more. Your post is perhaps the most on-target and intelligent remark made on Palin.

    May 6, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. Dan

    No different than Palin saying we should trust American oil companies, forgetting that Exxon Mobil (an American oil company) was responsible for the Exxon Valdez disaster in her home state of Alaska.

    May 6, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. Holding Up A Mirror

    Sarah doesn't believe in anything really except making the most money she can for herself and supporting a woman over a man whenever they are competing for a position.

    Just look at her behavior.

    May 6, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. Gary

    Sarah is not about "the People." She is about THE CORPORATIONS. And when the people and the corporations are on different teams, she will ALWAYS side with the corporations.

    Surprise, surprise!!!

    May 6, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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