July 19th, 2010
06:17 PM ET
3 years ago

Palin makes a move in New Hampshire

Sarah Palin endorsed Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire's GOP Senate primary on Monday.
Sarah Palin endorsed Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire's GOP Senate primary on Monday.

(CNN) – Sarah Palin sided with another "Mama Grizzly" in a prominent Republican primary on Monday, endorsing Kelly Ayotte for Senate in New Hampshire.

The endorsement is Palin's first political move in the state, which will once again hold the first-in-the-nation Republican presidential primary in February 2012. She has already backed midterm candidates in the other key early states of Iowa and South Carolina, but has not visited New Hampshire since the 2008 presidential race.

Ayotte, the state's Attorney General until last year, has three opponents in the GOP primary, but the race has shaped up as a battle between her and Bill Binnie, a millionaire businessman who has given more than $3 million to his own campaign.

"Kelly is the strongest commonsense conservative who can win in the fall," Palin wrote on her Facebook page. "I knew I liked her when I met her earlier this year, and I know this Granite Grizzly will represent New Hampshire with distinction in Washington."

Palin's endorsement is somewhat of a surprise, given Ayotte's sometimes troubled relationship with conservative activists in the Granite State. She won the early backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, earning her a reputation as the "establishment" figure in the race.

Having Palin's backing could fix all that, according to several top Republicans in the state.

"This is exactly what Kelly needs to get things moving," said Mike Dennehy, a Republican strategist who is not working for any candidate in the race. "Kelly is having problems in the conservative movement and she is seen as a consummate insider, having been endorsed and handpicked by the Senatorial committee. She seems establishment, and I think this Palin endorsement will kill both of those negatives with one stone."

The Palin touch might also throw the candidate's positions on social issues into stark relief. Ayotte, for instance, opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage. Binnie supports abortion rights and says the marriage issue should be left to the states.

Granite State voters have a well-earned reputation for political independence, but the state's Republican primary voters are just as conservative as in other regions of the country, according to one New Hampshire GOP insider.

"New Hampshire Republican primary voters are a much more conservative electorate than people realize," said the Republican. "Palin is well-liked by primary voters, but in terms of the general electorate of the state, I'm not sure where she stands."

Another top Republican strategist in the state, who is already doing work for one of Palin's potential rivals in 2012, told CNN that if Ayotte wins the nomination, it will be a "huge boost" for Palin if she decides to seek the Republican presidential nod.

But the strategist said the endorsement "is not really going to make a difference in terms of 2012 until Palin comes up here and starts talking to people and shaking hands."

"She is popular among the base, but among rank-and-file Republicans I would say there is still a little bit of skepticism," the strategist said. "They have an expectation of knowing people, so she has got to come here and work it."


Filed under: 2010 • Bill Binnie • Kelly Ayotte • New Hampshire • Sarah Palin
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. La Piovra

    Let us all pause to depreciate this lady who leaves us so befreshingly refuddled.

    July 19, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    The woman is an idiot.

    July 19, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  3. I Call On All Tea Party Member, Whether Tea Party Express or Federation to Band Together To

    To REFUDIATE the the lamestream media,

    P.S. To those Palin supporters: People in America speak English, please learn our language or go back to where you come from. :)

    July 19, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. John

    Anybody that would vote for Sarah Palin for anything is as dumb as she is.

    July 19, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. bbrooker

    Sarah Palin is like one of those horrible Christmas sweaters people make fun of but make 55yr old uneducated, mid-western Christian housewives feel so cozy in. There's no way in hell most of Americans would ever wear one of those attrocities (i.e. vote for her), but there's always gonna be that segment that defies all sense because a cozy Christmas sweater represents good Christian heartland values.

    July 19, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. Chris

    Dear CNN,

    Can you please stop using those photos of politicians in which they are viewed from a low angle looking off into the distance? They are ordinary human beings, and I for one resent the implication that they are visionaries to whom we should look up.

    They're politicians, for crying out loud. Show us a candid news photo, or even a mug shot. Let 'em pay for it themselves if they want to get their promo kits published.

    - Keeping It Real

    July 19, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. Four and The Door

    Sarah Palin's endorsement for a is a blessing for Republican candidates in 2010.

    Endorsement from anyone connected with the Democratic leadership in either the Administration or Congress is the Kiss of Death for Democratic candidates. You don't see too many invites anymore.

    In November the Democratic Party will hear No from more than just registered Republicans. By the way they have chosen to operate in Washington, they have alienated the Independent voters, too.

    July 19, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  8. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    I wonder if Half Gov. Palin realizes that Mama Grizzly's will eat their young (just like the GOP)? My guess is it's just another item to add to the every growing list of things Half Gov. Palin is clueless about. This woman is an idiot.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    July 19, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. and it is still Bush's fault

    For the life of me, why do they show this idiot.

    July 19, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. cali girl

    well let's see... when has Momma Grizz ever been in DC? How would she ever know what it is like? OH Wait, that's right, we voted her OUT.

    July 19, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. veteran

    Boy she really ruffles you libs feathers doesn't she ! Aw darn ; thats to folksy of a statement for you intelligent idealist ain't it!

    July 19, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. Ken in NC

    This IDIOT Grizzly is going around giving out endorsements in the hopes they will endorse her when she decides to run for President. It's a funny thought but she will have a lot of Democrats voting for her in the primary states where everyone can vote in a primary. Democrats really want her to run. Putin wants her to run. Senator McCain wants her to run because he wants her to choose him as her VP candidate hehehe. A 2008 REPEAT.

    July 19, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  13. Adalbert

    Palin is an excellent representative of the present day do nothing/no nothing corporate GOP.

    July 19, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  14. brian in denver

    May all "Mama Grizzlies" be soundly refudiated.

    July 19, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. southern cousin

    CNN really outdoing itself today with Palin coverage, three stories. the libertards are going nuts with their hateful, demeaning, degrading stupidity. They are now for building the mosque at ground zero for 9/11, just because she is against it. If that does not show their stupidity and hypocrisy and sheer arrogance, I don't know what does.

    July 19, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. Dale

    Does she do anything besides go around endorsing extremist candidates and stirring up pitchfork wielding crowds?

    July 19, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  17. RTB

    CNN – – Is this news?

    The Alaskan Air Head isn't capable of any thing more than these silly sound bites.

    Who cares who she endorses? It is a kiss of death for the candidate.

    July 19, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  18. Larry

    No one with intelligence cares what Palin says, or who she endorses

    She has to be the least relevant politician known today

    It truly amazes me, how those at CNN seem to love carrying her schoolbooks for her

    July 19, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. Paul

    What?! Where did you get your information, this is definitely not a two-way race and Bill Binnie is a democrat-voting joke. Take your nose out of the computer and head up to the granite state. There are four contenders for this GOP primary, and Binnie is certainly not one of the top two!

    July 19, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  20. Gina M. from CA

    And she's endorsing Fiorina in CA; what a joke! Actually that's a good thing for us; more power to Jerry! Says a lot about her judgment when she supports a CEO who was so publicly fired from HP. As a major "lamestream" media whore, her biggest objective is lining her own pocketbook. Hard to believe people spend money to listen to her whine. Oh, that voice!

    July 19, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
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