Kelly Ayotte’s appearance several weeks ago at an anti-abortion event in Washington, D.C., that featured Sarah Palin was no accident.
Palin has endorsed Ayotte, in a Facebook posting today that said, in part: “Kelly is the strongest commonsense conservative who can win in the fall. 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, the former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate in 2008, is using what clout she has to endorse women candidates — her den of Mama Grizzlies — across the country.
Ayotte is one of several Republicans vying for the seat in the U.S. Senate currently held by Republican Judd Gregg, who is retiring. She has previously picked up the endorsements of U.S. Sen. John McCain (the GOP presidential candidate and Palin’s running mate in 2008), Gregg and Warren Rudman, who held the Senate seat before Gregg.
“That she is leaving a major footprint on the 2010 midterm elections is not disputed, but less clear is whether the endorsements are rooted in an effort to amplify her image or to create a political strategy for the future,” said the New York Times.
As we said here at the time in May after the abortion conference: “Ayotte not only reinforced her position against a woman’s right to choose, she also seemingly hitched her wagon to Palin, who’s been stumping on behalf of conservatives and conservative causes.”
Ayotte returned the favor to Palin, saying in a web site posting that features Palin on the home page: “Governor Palin is a reformer in every sense of the word, and she has always stood firm for the conservative principles of low taxes, less spending and personal responsibility.”
The campaign of Democrat Paul Hodes, who has focused his efforts more on Ayotte than the other Republicans, responded to the Palin endorsement today saying:
“New Hampshire voters have already rejected Palin’s extreme, out-of-touch agenda,” said campaign spokesman Mark Bergman. “Kelly Ayotte and Sarah Palin are both radical right wing politicians more interested in grabbing headlines than getting results for the people they serve. Today’s endorsement shows that Kelly Ayotte is just a mouthpiece for the radical right wing of the Republican Party who are out of touch with New Hampshire voters.”
And Republican candidate Jim Bender pooh-poohed all the fuss:
“I think I got an email about that, but I must have deleted it,” said Bender spokeswoman Christine Baratta.