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Social media wrap: Sarah Palin picks Rita Meyer to be 'mama grizzly' in Wyoming

July 30, 2010 | 12:02 am

Sarah_palin_rita_meyer

Sarah Palin aimed squarely at the big beasts of conservatism -- the Wyoming GOP gubernatorial race -- late Thursday to endorse state Auditor Rita Meyer ahead of the Aug. 17 primary.

The former governor of Alaska posted on Facebook that Meyer, a colonel in the Air National Guard,  was a “straight shooter” and a “commonsense constitutional conservative” who had a “unique blend of steel magnolia and mama grizzly” for a state that rivals perhaps only Alaska for its natural resources (and number of grizzlies seen near population centers).

Palin’s back-scratching is notable as Wyoming is often referred to (alongside Utah) as the nation's most reliably conservative state.

About 30% of its likely voters say they consider themselves part of the “tea party” movement, according to Rasmussen Reports, while 62% say the “tea party” is good for the country’s future. About 70% of....

...voters say they support an immigration law like Arizona’s. This is Cheney-land (where McCain beat Obama in 2008 by "only" 32 points).

They raise them tough in Wyoming, too: Before becoming state Auditor in 2006, Meyer twice saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, retiring as a full colonel. She opposes public funding of abortion and is running on a platform of small government and fiscal restraint. She previously served as chief of staff for then-Gov. Jim Geringer.

Palin, who on Thursday also announced she'd reached 2 million Facebook followers -- or "more than some cable news shows" -- also highlighted similarities between Wyoming and Alaska’s natural resources and wilderness (but not, this time, bears).

The GOP candidate who wins the primary is expected to defeat the Democrat come Nov. 2, with voters favoring a Republican governor over a Democrat by a 2-to-1 margin, according to Rasmussen Reports. 

Meyer is running against former state Rep. Ron Micheli; state Speaker Colin Simpson; and attorney Matt Mead. The Democrat incumbent, Dave Freudenthal, said he won’t run again in a heavy anti-incumbency climate, and anyway Wyoming has term limits. The race largely bereft of Democratic challengers was shaken up by a late entry of the chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, Leslie Petersen.

Petersen also, it seems, would be glad to face Meyer in a state where the first woman governor (the 14th overall), Nellie Tayloe Ross, was the first woman governor of any U.S. state (making her perhaps the original mama grizzly).

"I'm fond of Rita myself," Petersen was quoted as saying in the Casper Star Tribune (which on home-page main art package Thursday told the sad tale of a fatal bear mauling near Yellowstone). "It's possible that two women will be running for governor in the fall."

--Craig Howie

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Photos: Associated Press; Meyer campaign.

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