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Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump

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Donald Trump’s presidential campaign announced on Tuesday that he had received “the coveted and influential endorsement of former Vice Presidential Candidate and Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.”

“I am greatly honored to receive Sarah’s endorsement. She is a friend, and a high quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support,” Trump said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

Palin, who said she was proud to endorse Trump, was a relative unknown before being tapped to run alongside Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential race. She resigned as governor of Alaska in 2009. Since then, Palin has remained active as a cable news commentator and reality television star. Through her media presence and political action committee, she has built a strong following among conservatives.

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Photos: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images; Jae C. Hong/AP

“I am proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President of the United States of America,” Palin said in a statement.

News of the endorsement was first reported by the New York Times.

Palin’s support should help Trump shore up his support from the conservative base as he works to fend off Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Though Trump remains the frontrunner in national polls of the Republican presidential field, Cruz has gained ground in Iowa since last month, and the pair are currently nearly neck and neck in the RealClearPolitics average of polls in the Hawkeye State. Iowa, which is the first state to vote in the primaries, has strong evangelical and conservative constituencies, among whom Palin’s backing could prove influential.

The Trump campaign noted that Palin has campaigned for many conservative candidates and claimed her “endorsement is amongst the most sought after and influential amongst Republicans.” The announcement also included a quote from Cruz, whom Palin endorsed when he was running for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

“I would not be in the United States Senate were it not for Gov. Sarah Palin … She can pick winners,” Cruz was quoted as saying.

That Cruz quote is not a word-for-word reflection of comments Cruz made when he introduced Palin at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference. At that event, Cruz did indeed make both those statements, but the Trump campaign reversed the order of his remarks.

Trump is scheduled to hold campaign rallies in Norwalk, Iowa, and Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday. According to his campaign, Palin will join him at both events.

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