Sarah Palin on Thursday endorsed Karen Handel in her bid to win the GOP nod to run for U.S. Senate from Georgia — a heavyweight boost the ex-secretary of state needs to help elbow her way out of dead last in a crowded field.
The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate also threw her support behind Minnesota state Sen. Julianne Ortman, who won a GOP caucus straw poll last month to challenge Democrat Sen. Al Franken in November.
In Georgia, Handel is running 19 points behind businessman David Perdue, a former CEO of Dollar General, who has emerged as front-runner among Republican candidates, according to a recent SurveyUSA poll
. The GOP primary is May 20.
Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, and Jack Kingston also are campaigning, with Kingston and Perdue flooding the airwaves, USA Today reported
"Karen has walked the walk when it comes to cutting government waste, providing ethical leadership and fighting back against big bullying government," Palin wrote on Facebook
"It's not about who has the best rhetoric, the loudest voice or the best TV ads. It’s about who we trust to keep their word to fight for conservative principles and grow our movement at the same time."
"Margaret Thatcher often said: 'If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman,' " she wrote. "GOP voters in Georgia have many choices if they want something said, but Karen Handel is the only choice if we want something done. Karen will get the job done."
In the race to fill the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the winner of the GOP primary is likely to face Democrat Michelle Nunn.
Meanwhile, Palin called Franken's political career a "joke" in a separate Facebook posting
on the Minnesota contest. He once starred on "Saturday Night Live" and hosted a radio talk show.
She praised Ortman as a "conservative champion" who is a "fighter for life and for our Second Amendment rights."
"Let’s give voters a contrast this fall: a clown vs. a Mama Grizzly, an Obama 100 percenter vs. a Blue Star Mom, a talker vs. a doer, and a liberal Obama rubber stamp legislator vs. a proven conservative fighter," Palin said.
"Let’s make this proven conservative the one to take the fight to Al Franken this fall and make him the punch line," she added. "Julianne Ortman is the choice."
Palin also took a veiled shot at businessman Mike McFadden, one of Ortman's nine rivals in the Aug. 12 GOP primary.
She said that Ortman was "running a grass-roots campaign against a well-funded favorite of the Washington GOP establishment whose policy record is a blank slate."
Ortman won a non-binding Republican straw poll
last month, Minnesota Public Radio reports. McFadden finished second.
In response to the Palin endorsement, Ortman said on her Facebook page
that she was "honored … to have her on our side as we fight to defeat Al Franken."
Palin has been announcing her 2014 midterm picks via Facebook, most recently throwing her weight behind conservative Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst
and Florida House hopeful Lizbeth Benacquisto.
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