This is a stake to the heart of Senator Ted Cruz! Sarah Palin is shocking everyone with a big endorsement today LIVE STREAMING BELOW (6:00 p.m. Eastern):
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee who became a Tea Party sensation and a favorite of grass-roots conservatives, will endorse Donald J. Trump in Iowa on Tuesday, officials with his campaign confirmed. The endorsement provides Mr. Trump with a potentially significant boost just 13 days before the state’s caucuses.
“I’m proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president,” Ms. Palin said in a statement provided by his campaign.
Her support is the highest-profile backing for a Republican contender so far.
“I am greatly honored to receive Sarah’s endorsement,” Mr. Trump said in a statement trumpeting Mrs. Palin’s decision. “She is a friend, and a high-quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support.”
In Iowa, where Ms. Palin spent years developing support, the endorsement could be especially helpful.
”Over the years Palin has actually cultivated a number of relationships in Iowa,” said Craig Robinson, the former executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa and publisher of the website The Iowa Republican. ”There are the Tea Party activists who still think she’s great and a breath of fresh air, but she also did a good job of courting Republican donors in the state,” he added.
Other conservatives said that Ms. Palin serves as a particularly effective shield against Senator Ted Cruz, who is battling Mr. Trump for the lead in Iowa polls by courting the state’s evangelical voters.
JOHN WAYNE’S DAUGHTER ENDORSED TRUMP EARLIER TODAY:
WINTERSET, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is kicking off a swing through Iowa at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum, where he received an endorsement from the Western film actor’s daughter, Aissa Wayne.
The endorsement was announced Tuesday in front of a life-size, rifle-toting model of the actor in full cowboy gear.
Aissa Wayne said the country needs a strong and courageous leader like her father. She said John Wayne would be offering his endorsement if he were still alive.
Trump said he was a big fan of Wayne and that the actor represented strength and power — which the American people are looking for.
He said, “We have exactly the opposite from John Wayne right now in this country.”
The museum includes an extensive collection of memorabilia from Wayne’s movies.
TRUMP’S FACEBOOK POST ON THE ENDORSEMENT: