Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin endorsed former George W. Bush administration official and first-time candidate Taylor Griffin a week before North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District’s GOP primary, which will be held on Tuesday, May 6.
Griffin, an Eastern North Carolina native, worked for Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) and in the Treasury Department for Bush, is running to unseat incumbent Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), an anti-war Representative who is the most liberal Republican in Congress.
Griffin said he was “incredibly honored to receive the endorsement of Governor Sarah and Todd Palin” because he considers Palin to be “the epitome of a principled conservative and her endorsement reinforces my message that I will give Eastern North Carolina the conservative representation we deserve.”
“When a local veteran or commercial fisherman tell me I have their support, I feel the responsibility to represent them in a manner fitting their trust,” Griffin said in a statement. “I feel the same way about the endorsement of Governor Palin and Todd I can assure them and the people of Eastern North Carolina that my conservative principles will not waiver after I get to Washington.”
Griffin, who help to start Hamilton Place Strategies and turn it into a dynamic firm before selling his ownership share before his bid for Congress, does not have the typical profile of someone Palin usually endorses. As CNN’s Peter Hamby noted, Griffin, though he is pro-life, opposes amnesty, and supports the repeal of Obamacare, also is telling voters that there will be times where he will be “willing to cut deals, horse-trade and generally play nice with other elected officials and appointees if his district needs it.”
But Ending Spending Action Fund, a super PAC that opposes earmarks and has led the charge against wasteful spending, trusted Griffin enough run ads for him across the district touting Palin’s endorsement. The Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots have also endorsed his candidacy.
Griffin worked with the Palin’s during the 2008 campaign, defending the Palins from frivolous lawsuits and smears that were hurled their way. And Palin’s endorsement of him, even though he is not the staunchest of conservatives, shows the loyalty and appreciation Palin has often shown to those with whom she has worked, something which has not been reciprocated by other tacticians on the McCain campaign (see: Steve Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace, et al.).
Griffin wrote to Palin and her husband Todd to request Palin’s endorsement:
“I chose to launch my campaign last year because in my time in politics and government I have watched our country, and at times my own party, veer so far off course from the fundamental constitutional values and free market ideals that made our country great. My time working with you and your family in Alaska was one of the most important experiences of my life. Like Alaskans, Eastern North Carolinians believe that the solution to our nations problems lie in its people rather than in ever expanding edicts from Washington.”
Palin responded to Griffin by writing:
“Taylor – Thank you for your note and for putting your name on the line to help restore our country. Todd and I are happy to honor your request and support your candidacy. In Washington, we need you to stay true to your beliefs of smaller government, protecting life and furthering conservative principles. America needs fighters in Congress – go to DC remembering the good patriots of Eastern North Carolina who put their trust in you to fight for them. You have our support – we have directed SarahPAC to make a financial contribution to your campaign today. Thank you for your patriotism and commitment to our cause! – Sarah Palin”
Ending Spending Action Fund, the super PAC started by Joe Ricketts, is running the TV commercial below for Griffin across his district, which has a fragmented media market.
And, as CNN noted, Griffin has received support and contributions from prominent establishment Republicans like former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former George W. Bush White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer, both of whom are part of the D.C. Washington establishment that likes to whisper to and con naive reporters about Palin’s supposed diminishing influence. They may have sway among the D.C. crowd, but they are neither featured nor touted prominently on Griffin’s website. It is none other than Sarah Palin who is featured prominently on the landing page for Griffin’s website the weekend before primary voters go to the polls. In fact, she is the only person Griffin’s campaign features on the page: