ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gave longshot Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller a boost Wednesday by endorsing him in the Aug. 24 primary against Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
"I'm proud to join so many other longtime Alaskans in supporting Joe Miller in the upcoming Alaska Republican Primary. Joe is a true Commonsense Constitutional Conservative, and we're thankful he and his family are willing to offer us a choice in Alaskan leadership," Palin wrote on her Facebook page.
Palin said there is no tension between her and Murkowski. Palin's political action committee, SarahPAC, even donated to $4,800 to Murkowski's campaign last year and pledged to raise funds for her before Palin abruptly quit as governor.
"As she and I discussed, this was an attempt to reassure the Senator that I, as Alaska's governor, had no intention of jumping into the race. Though the media has tried to portray some sort of feud or bad blood between Lisa and myself, such is not the case. I've always wished her well, but it is my firm belief that we need a bold reformer who is not afraid to stand up to special interests and take on the tough challenges of our time. Joe Miller has stepped forward," Palin wrote on Facebook.
There was no immediate word from the Murkowski campaign Wednesday if the donation would be returned. [See who is giving the most money to Murkowski's campaign.]
Palin trounced Murkowski's father, incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski, in the 2006 GOP primary race, which launched Palin's national political career.
When Palin abruptly resigned her governor's post last summer, Lisa Murkowski said she was "deeply disappointed that the governor has decided to abandon the state and her constituents before her term has concluded."
The two also clashed over health care overhaul and Palin's use of the term "death panels."
Parts of the Democrats' health care bills were "bad enough that we don't need to be making things up," Murkowski said.
"Quite honestly, I'm so offended at that terminology because it absolutely isn't (in the bill). There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill," she added.
Responding to Wednesday's endorsement, Murkowski campaign spokesman Steve Wackowski said in an e-mail statement that she is the "best candidate to stay on the job and get things done."
"Her efforts and tenacity have delivered better services for our military veterans, stopped overreaching bureaucratic regulations by federal agencies, created better economic and educational opportunities, and defended our 2nd Amendment rights," he said.
Miller, who has served as an acting state District Court judge and a U.S. magistrate judge, unsuccessfully ran for a state House seat in 2004.
Miller said he was thrilled to get the endorsement.
"We share the belief that our nation is at a critical juncture," he said in a statement. "It is time for true change away from the long discredited notion that Big Government knows best and back towards our Constitutional moorings, rooted in individual freedom and personal responsibility."