May 6th, 2010
03:42 PM ET
5 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. steven harnack

    Don't tell me that they expected logic from this rube! I'll bet dollars to buffalo chips there is a payday somewhere in Sarah's future for this.

    May 6, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. gary

    This is great.....right-wing extremists eating their own!

    May 6, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Who cares who Palin endorses, Palin knows she'll never get in the WH before John McCain, dead or alive, Republicans aren't having none of that.

    May 6, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. FTK

    Everything this woman does she does for herself.
    Support her if you wish...but dont exspect the same in return.

    May 6, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Bunaro

    I don't care who she endorses. Only her fanatics should worry about it.

    May 6, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Joe Knows

    She did the same thing by backing Rick Perry over the more conservative, Debra Medina for Texas Governor!

    May 6, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. JonDie

    Follow the money; that's where you'll find Sarah Palin.

    May 6, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Carol

    I do not understand why anyone would support this woman. She does not care what anyone thinks – she has no shame when it comes to money. I doubt if she knows much about the dude in California!

    May 6, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Future expat

    Sarah Palin, a GOP dunce along the lines of Reagan and Bush, is not the one-woman-show/heroine that shows up in her followers' pathetic dreams. She is a prop, and a puppet for right wing interests. Someone told her to endorse Fiorina, and she went along with it.

    May 6, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. R

    Endorsement from this Bimbo! Fiorina should fold her campaign and go on FOX as a political hack.

    May 6, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. fairhair

    I can explain. She's an idiot.

    May 6, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. johnnyhouse

    This topic has about had it. The fade out is showing on the comment button.

    May 6, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. jeff jackson, alabama

    Palin has always said we need political
    OUTSIDERS in offices across the board.
    Nothing she has done here is out of mode
    with her thinking.
    She is not a follower and has always said
    she would think on her own.
    She has no loyalty to any party and I thought
    that's what everyone was wanting in a new
    fresh approach.
    Real change takes guts and she has them.
    If you whinners out there don't have the guts
    for real change for the BETTER then get the
    heck out of the way and shut up and let the rest
    of us save your butts for you. PERIOD!!!

    May 6, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. dH

    Gold plating wears out with time. But she sold it. You bought it!!
    I donot undersatnd how people make the same mistake again and again..make big bets..buy.. when they know the underlying asset is a trash.

    May 6, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. JR

    Sarah, I really didn't need a reason to NOT vote for Florina, but your endorsement certainly clinches the deal.

    May 6, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. Dave W

    Big surprise Palin would pick someone who nearly drove the company I worked 30 yrs. for (HP) into the ground. Carly was/is an egomaniac and really killed the culture that made HP great. Hmmmm, egomaniac, I see the common thread in these two now!

    May 6, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. lstro

    Shara Palin is nothing more than a lying hypercritical self serving poorly educated big mouth whinner. Us critics have been telling you this for some time. Now maybe you'll understand why.

    May 6, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Jerry - Florida

    The only morons here are the ones that are criticizing Ms. Palin's decision. She's got every right to choose whomever she thinks will do the best job once elected.

    I would bet that a good amount of the criticism comes from Democrats masquerading as Republicans.

    Ms. Palin, most Americans are proud of you. Please continue to exercise your independent thought process.

    YES, I am a life-long democrat!

    May 6, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. Jennifer NYC

    Well, it figures – two nitwits!!! Mutual admiration society probably although I think Carly may have a few more brain cells than Palin.

    May 6, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. jay

    Why is this woman still in the spotlight? Am I missing something here? How can otherwise intelligent people be so pro-Palin. What do they expect her to accomplish? It baffles me.

    May 6, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Annie

    Why do we care? The day CNN stops talking about this woman will be the best day of my life!

    May 6, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. LiberalLioness

    Thank you Sarah! Don't ever leave public life! You're the best thing that's happened to us in a long time!

    May 6, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Mickey, NY

    Palin is a teutonic twit!

    May 6, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Elva Hansen

    Kiss of political death for Fiorina if she endorsed him

    May 6, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. Fed Up!

    Palin's supporters need to realize that she requires only two things from them, their money and their total obedience.

    Just because they giver these things does not give them the right to disagree or criticize Sarah in any way whatsoever.

    Common Palinites, get with the program.

    May 6, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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