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Sarah Palin backs Karen Handel in crowded Georgia Senate field

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) endorsed former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel (R) for U.S. Senate Thursday, wading into a crowded and competitive GOP primary in her latest 2014 maneuver.

"Karen has walked the walk when it comes to cutting government waste, providing ethical leadership, and fighting back against big bullying government," said Palin in a statement. "We can count on Karen to take her real life skills to Washington to help balance our budget, fight for lower taxes, and do everything she can to keep the government out of our lives."

Handel is one of several Republicans running for the seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Most observers expect the May 20 primary to result in a runoff between the top two finishers. Handel has lagged behind the GOP leaders according to recent polling.

The winner is likely to face Democrat Michelle Nunn, who has run a steady campaign and raised heaps of cash. Georgia is one of two realistic pickup opportunities for Senate Democrats. The other is Kentucky.

Palin has been picking Senate favorites with increased frequency lately. She endorsed Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) earlier this week.