In Snub To Successor, Palin Endorses Walker

After her vice presidential run, Sarah Palin’s seal of approval was coveted by conservative candidates. Now, she’s endorsing against the Republican ticket for the first time in the Alaska governor’s race. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez reports.

When Sarah Palin stepped down as governor in 2009, she handed the reins to Republican Sean Parnell. Five years later, she’s working against his reelection. Palin has endorsed unaffiliated candidate Bill Walker. Walker is running alongside Democrat Byron Mallott, and has the Democratic Party’s support.

Walker spokesperson Lindsay Hobson says the endorsement is personal as much as political – Walker and Palin have a long-standing friendship. She adds that the two share similar views on resource development, and that Walker welcomes endorsements from across the political spectrum.

“Sarah Palin is known to be a conservative Republican, and we’ve certainly had endorsements from the other side as well,” says Hobson. “I don’t think we’re necessarily looking at initials next to people’s names. We’re just looking at Alaskans that want to see a different Alaska, and that’s what we’re all about.”

It’s unclear how the endorsement will affect the race, and comes as a surprise to at least one pollster.

“Oh, I started laughing,” say political consultant Marc Hellenthal.

Hellenthal thinks the endorsement is a risk for Walker. When Hellenthal polled on Palin earlier this year, more than half of survey respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of her. That was especially true among the Democrats and rural voters who form part of Walker’s base.

“With them, Palin is not somebody you snuggle up to publicly,” says Hellenthal.

Hellenthal adds that recent accounts of a drunken brawl involving the family haven’t helped Palin’s reputation.

But the endorsement is still a slight to Palin’s successor. This summer, Palin criticized Parnell for undoing her signature oil tax policy, and threw her support behind a tax referendum movement that narrowly failed.

Parnell’s campaign had no comment on the matter.

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agutierrez (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.209.1799 | About Alexandra

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