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. Erin

    Wait..... she doesn't even hold a real political position anymore, so why should anyone care who she endorses? I wish Palin would let go of the 30 minutes of fame she had and disappear into obscurity.

    May 6, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Me! In Houston, Texas

    It's funny how much I don't care.

    May 6, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. jay

    She does have her PhD though. Penecostal Hair-Do

    May 6, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Kathy, DC

    Who CARES????

    May 6, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Sheri

    Let's face it, Sarah Palin can be found in the New Webster's Dictionary under the word IRK! Need anymore be said?!!

    May 6, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Lorena

    I wish somebody would interview Palin about this move. I would certainly get my popcorn ready, sit down, relax, and enjoy the delightful spectacle.

    May 6, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. jay

    PenTecostal....with a "t". Sorry

    May 6, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. BobInIrvine

    Republicans eating their own. I love it!!!!

    May 6, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. Oregon Calling

    ok, one air head to another. Please give us some decent women as role models!!!!!

    Peace :-)

    May 6, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. John in Tampa

    And check out the 'Demon Sheep' ads! Let's see now , Fiorina says Campbell is a fiscal liberal (they're all Reps.) Palin says Fiorina is conservative enough for her, but Jennie Good says DeVore is the ONLY true conservative in California. Alright, alright, that's in the Senate race. But maybe in the State, because Campbell is leading. How strange to see Sarah Palin in the middle ground!

    May 6, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. liz

    A politcal celebrity is as a political celbrity does and Sarah Palin is just another celebrity as willing to sell her soul to the highest bidder as any.

    May 6, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Murski

    An endorsement from Sarah Palin. Gee, that's swell – as exciting as marriage proposals from Jon Gosselin or Jesse James.

    May 6, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. fanoftheusa

    lol lol Um...Carly Fiorina's constituents and fans should be complaining *big time* on Sarah Palin's page, as Ms. Palin holds "zero" cache in the great state of California. The Republican conservatives should realize that *any* Republican with Sarah Palin endorsing them will lose bigtime...so, why are they complaining? *rolls eyes* Duh. That's a no brainer. Party on, Republican conservatives. Thumbs up for Boxer.

    May 6, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. djoss

    Sarah Palin is a liberal at heart

    May 6, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. P3

    The only thing I don't understand is why anyone would ever support Sarah Palin in the first place.

    May 6, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. RLS-Cleveland, OH

    LOL! Why is anyone surprised? She's consistent about being inconsistent- Slow News Day??? ho hum.

    May 6, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. NVa Native

    Palin probably wants a ride on one of Fiorina's 60'+ yachts.
    That "yachty-changey-thingy".

    May 6, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. Dennis

    Yes, it is all about the money. That is why Republicans are not supporting Wall Street financial reform. They are getting HUGE KICKBACKS from the HUGE BONUSES. Screw the middle class.

    May 6, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. liz

    If you want to kow how significant Sarah Palin's endorsment of Carly Fiorina is, just ask Doug Hoffman.

    May 6, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. Dave in Albuquerque

    "A number of her followers questioned why she would side with Fiorina instead of the more conservative candidate in the race, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore."

    As the saying goes, follow the money. Shortly after the 2008 election, Palin decided to blow off her job as governor and go for the bucks. For a while, the tea partiers and such were her easiest dollar. But now she has a chance to hitch her star to a rich candidate, and guess what. Those of us who pegged her as a phony early on aren't surprised. The rest of you, well, just don't be fooled twice by the same person, right?

    May 6, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. Bert

    My assumption is simple: Carly paid palin for her endorsement.

    If nothing else, palin's actions show that the only thing she actually cares about is her own paychecks.

    May 6, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Who care what the political no-nothing palin endorses? Wouldn't it be just as wise to ask your hairstylist or yard man? They have just about as much credibility on such matters as palin does.

    May 6, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Hendrik

    Oh Sarah, you are treading dangerous ground here. You are walking away from your conservative roots.

    WHAT! Sarah Palin has no roots. She is as shallow as a potted plant.

    May 6, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. JMC

    What's so surprising? She proved herself to be a complete ignorant idiot while running with McCain. Maybe if you conservatives looked for leaders with intelligence, you wouldn't be so disappointed with what you end up with!

    May 6, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. DL13

    Sarah probably figured a RINO as senator would be better than the mental-train-wreck that is the current incumbent; anything would be better than Boxer, except maybe Attila the Hun....

    May 6, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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