August 4th, 2010
01:03 PM ET
13 years ago

In endorsement battle, score one for DeMint over Palin

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="An endorsement from Sarah Palin wasn't enough for Rep. Todd Tiahrt."]
(CNN) - This time a Sarah Palin endorsement wasn't enough for victory. But score another win for Sen. Jim DeMint.

Rep. Todd Tiahrt was edged out by Rep. Jerry Moran in a battle between two conservative congressmen for the Republican Senate nomination in Kansas. Moran is now considered the overwhelming favorite in November's general election to succeed GOP Sen. Sam Brownback, who is running for Kansas governor rather than for re-election to Congress.

Tiahrt was endorsed by the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee in June. In a Facebook post, Palin said Tiahrt was "a protector of our Constitution, a pro-family, pro-Second Amendment commonsense conservative who has never voted for a tax increase."

But Palin didn't personally campaign for Tiahrt, who also enjoyed the backing of Karl Rove and Phyliss Schlaffly, two other conservative powerhouses.

Moran was supported by DeMint, the freshman senator from South Carolina who has become somewhat of a kingmaker in conservative circles. DeMint did join Moran on the campaign trail in Kansas. The party's most recent presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, also endorsed Moran.

Most state polls of Kansas Republicans conducted this summer indicated Moran had a double digit lead over Tiahrt, but according to unofficial primary election results compiled by the Associated Press, Moran defeated Tiahrt by 4.9 percentage points.

Many state-wide candidates endorsed by Palin have come out on top in GOP primaries. Among them, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Carly Fiorina in California, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, and Terry Branstad in Iowa.

Palin is also supporting Karen Handel in next week's GOP gubernatorial primary runoff in Georgia, Gov. Jan Brewer in this month's Republican gubernatorial primary in Arizona, and has backed former NFL player Clint Didier in the GOP Senate primary in Washington, and conservative Joe Miller who is challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski in this month's Republican primary in Alaska.

"Palin's a media star. An appearance or endorsement by her guarantees that a candidate dominates the local news and maybe has a shot at national cable," says Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez.

"But she appears sparingly and is conscious not to over expose herself," adds Sanchez, the author of "You've Come a Long Way, Maybe"

For DeMint, the Moran victory is another notch on the belt. Last year DeMint was an early supporter Marco Rubio in the Sunshine state Senate battle, at a time when the former Florida House Speaker was considered having little or no chance against Gov. Charlie Crist, who was backed by establishment Republicans. Fast forward a year and Rubio is the presumptive GOP Senate nominee and Crist is running for the Senate as a non-aligned independent candidate.

Since then, DeMint has backed and assisted many little know, outside the Beltway candidates through his Senate Conservatives Fund political action committee, often at odds with the national party.

In comparison to Palin, Sanchez says "DeMint offers other positives to the Right. His conservative bona fifes are useful in fundraising."

The Kansas Senate primary isn't the first time DeMint and Palin backed different candidates. DeMint endorsed conservative candidate Chuck Devore in the Senate contest in California, while Palin backed the winner, Fiorina. They are on different sides again, later this month, as DeMint has supported Dino Rossi in the Washington state Senate primary. Rossi, a two-time gubernatorial candidate, also appears to be the pick of national Republicans. Palin is backing Didier, who enjoys the support of many in the Tea Party movement.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: 2010 • Jim DeMint • Sarah Palin
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Thanks for that ugly photo of the shrilla' from wasilla. You need to get a new one of her botoxed face. The new face that looks like a blown up blow fish (and just as poisonous) with the lines around her dirty mouth not as noticeable.
    If she continues to have more surgery and hair weaves she is REALLY going to look like a transvestite.

    August 4, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. johnrj08

    "Palin said Tiahrt was "a protector of our Constitution, a pro-family, pro-Second Amendment commonsense conservative who has never voted for a tax increase."

    Pro-family? Who is anti-family? Pro-2nd amendment? Obama has actually expanded gun owner rights. Tiahrt has never voted for a tax increase because the Republican Party has managed to make taxes an evil word in American politics, even though our tax rates are at historical lows. Anything to drum up a phony issue.

    Sarah Palin is an idiot.

    August 4, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. 8 Years of "Trickle Down" Economics has only left a wet spot on working America's shoes!

    It would appear the grizzly sow's "Midas Touch" has turned to tin.

    August 4, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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