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Sarah Palin Backs Donald Trump’s 2016 Bid

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(CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump received a key endorsement from former Alaska governor and conservative heavyweight Sarah Palin, Tuesday.

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

The former Alaska governor, and former running mate of Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential race, endorsed the billionaire businessman, Trump’s campaign said in a statement, noting that he is “honored” by the endorsement.

The endorsement comes less than two weeks ahead of the critical lead-off Iowa caucus, where Trump is locked in a dead heat with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Palin was a virtual newcomer to the national political arena when McCain named her as his running mate but has since risen to prominence as one of the most outspoken conservatives in the party.

She signed on as a Fox News commentator after resigning as Alaska’s governor in 2010, a job she held until last year.

In a press release, Trump’s campaign touted the endorsement as “coveted and influential.” The campaign called her “a trusted conservative” and credited her with helping to launch the career of several “key future leaders of the Republican Party” — including Trump’s biggest rival for the GOP nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz. The press release quotes Cruz, who said, “I would not be in the United States Senate were it not for Gov. Sarah Palin… She can pick winners.”

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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