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A Sarah Palin-Rick Perry GOP ticket in '12? She endorses him in Texas primary

February 4, 2009 |  6:06 am

Republican Governors Rick Perry of Texas and Sarah Palin of Alaska at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami November 2008

And you thought we were done with elections for a good while.

The decision by Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to go home and challenge incumbent GOP Gov. Rick Perry has already launched the statewide primary campaign in the nation's second-largest state, even now fully 13 months before that election.

Now Sarah Palin, the Republican governor of the nation's first-largest state and the party's VP nominee last fall, has weighed in to support her gubernatorial colleague, Perry.

In a letter distributed this week to nearly 11,000 members of the Texas Federation of Republican Women, longtime supporters of Hutchison, Palin follows the Reagan Rule and does not attack Hutchison by name. But she strongly touts the "true conservative" credentials of Perry, who befriended the Alaskan chief executive in the Republican Governors Assn. when he was chairman last year.

"He walks the walk of a true conservative," Palin writes. "And he sticks by his guns -- and you know how I feel about guns."

As is the case for most party primaries, Texas' will be a struggle for the far reaches of the faithful, who have historically been much more likely to turn out in a spring election. Palin praises Perry's stand against federal bailouts and his opposition to abortion.

"Not every child is born into ideal circumstances," Palin adds, "but every life is sacred. Rick Perry knows this -- it is at the core of his being."

On his respected Trail Blazers blog, longtime Texas politics observer Wayne Slater wonders out loud: "With GOP super-star Sarah endorsing national party wannabe Rick, could a Palin-Perry 2012 ticket be in our future?"

It could make sense. Republican national tickets typically do much better with governors than legislators. Texas is a rich source of conservative political donors. And it would get the GOP back with a genuine Southerner on the ticket, historically a strong suit and one that would help counter Barack Obama's likely choice of current Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the new head of the Democratic National Committee, to replace the aging Joe Biden, who'll be 70 by then.

There are, however, two minor matters for the Alaskan and Texan to address first: Both members of a potential P2 '12 ticket need to win reelection to their statehouses next year. Other than that, it's an easy straight shot.

--Andrew Malcolm

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Photo Republican Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Sarah Palin of Alaska at the Republican Governors Assn. meeting in Miami, November 2008.

Credit: Getty Images

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