Palin endorses T.W. Shannon in Senate race in Oklahoma


Former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin addresses a Tea Partly Express Rally in Manchester, N.H., in 2011. (Stephan Savoia - AP)

Sarah Palin on Wednesday endorsed former Oklahoma House speaker T.W. Shannon (R) for his state's open U.S. Senate seat.

Shannon is running against Rep. James Lankford and a number of other candidates in the Republican primary to replace Sen. Tom Coburn (R). The 36-year old has gotten some early buzz as the first African American to serve as House speaker in Oklahoma, but he remains an underdog, according to the most recent polls.

"T.W.’s opponent has the backing of Beltway insiders, but T.W. has the passion and experience We the People need in Washington," Palin wrote on her Facebook page.

Conservative groups including the Club for Growth aren't big fans of Lankford, but Shannon so far hasn't drawn big-name tea party support.

Palin, whose endorsement was once about the most important thing a tea party candidate could get in a GOP primary, said earlier Thursday that she plans to unveil more endorsements in the coming months.

Previously, she endorsed Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) for governor and tea party activist Katrina Pierson in her primary with Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.). Pierson lost badly; Abbott faced only nominal primary opposition.

Update 4:16: Shannon says in a statement that he's proud to have Palin's endorsement.

“It is hard to put in to words how honored I am to have the confidence and support of a leader like Sarah Palin,” he said. “She is one of the few leaders in this country who is truly committed to the conservative, constitutional principles that will return our country to greatness."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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