Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump for president

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Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was John McCain’s vice presidential nominee in the 2008 elections, is endorsing Republican front-runner Donald Trump for president.

“I’m proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president,” Palin said in a brief statement released by Trump’s campaign. Palin, who remains an influential voice among conservatives, also joined Trump at a rally in the city of Ames in Iowa on Tuesday to personally announce her endorsement.

“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 an emailed statement, which followed hours of intense speculation about a possible Palin endorsement.

The statement from the Trump campaign said Palin had praised the businessman for his “leadership and unparalleled ability to speak the truth and produce real results.”

The coveted endorsement is a blow to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, who trails Trump in the polls. “I love [Sarah Palin]. Without her support, I wouldn’t be in the Senate,” he said in a tweet earlier on Tuesday. “Regardless of what she does in 2016, I will always be a big fan.”

Palin, 51, served as the Governor of Alaska from 2006 to 2009 and was chosen by U.S. Senator John McCain as his vice presidential nominee for the 2008 presidential election, which McCain lost to Obama. Palin endorsed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the 2012 election, which also went to Obama.

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