Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, is not supporting the Republican nominee in the race for New York’s heavily sought 23rd Congressional District, which includes upstate Watertown and Plattsburgh. Instead, she is endorsing Doug Hoffman, a Conservative Party candidate with slim chances of victory.
"The people of the 23rd Congressional District of New York are ready to shake things up, and Doug Hoffman is coming on strong as Election Day approaches! He needs our help now," the ex-Alaskan governor wrote on her Facebook page.
Palin didn’t just say flattering things about Hoffman -- she downright trashed the GOP candidate, state Assemblywoman Deirdre “Dede” Scozzafava.
"Political parties must stand for something. When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of ‘blurring the lines' between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections," Palin wrote, who loves to use the social networking site to communicate these days.
"Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate that more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race," she added, a tailor shot at Scozzafava who supports same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
"Best of all, Doug Hoffman has not been anointed by any political machine," Palin wrote.
"Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty."
A Siena Research Institute Poll showed Democrat Bill Owens leading the pack by 4 percentage points at 33 percent. Scozzafava came in second with 29 percent and Hoffman following with 23 percent.
His candidacy has attracted attention from Republican fundamentalists.
Former presidential contender, Fred Thompson, and former House majority leader, Dick Armey, endorsed Hoffman prior to Palin’s support.
"The choice in New York is a practical one," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently wrote in support of Scozzafava. "My No. 1 interest in the 2009 elections is to build a Republican majority. If your interest is taking power back from the Left, and your interest is winning the necessary elections, then there are times when you have to put together a coalition that has disagreement within it."
The stakes are high, as the Republicans have held the seat for 120 years.
But Democrats have good chances with Owens.