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July 18, 2012

GOP Senate hopeful in Missouri irked over losing Palin endorsement

It's not very often that a candidate gets into a public snit over losing an endorsement. Rarer still, perhaps, does the loser publicly call into question the endorser's intelligence, particularly if it's someone with an important political following.

Indeed, one of the first laws of politics is never burn bridges.

But that's just what John Brunner, a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, appeared to do after losing the backing of Sarah Palin to Sarah Steelman, a former Missouri state treasurer and one of his competitors for the nomination.

Palin, a former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, remains a tea party favorite and still carries influence among the Republican faithful.

But here's what Brunner spokesman Todd Abrajano said in a statement: "We are surprised that a conservative like Sarah Palin would endorse a pro-labor, pro-trial lawyer, pro-tax, anti-business candidate like Sarah Steelman, who clearly is an unreliable conservative. Governor Palin must surely be unaware of Steelman's anti-conservative record."

Smart politics?

Endorsements are rarely spur of the moment events. They are usually well thought-out decisions full of political calculations. And Palin, though it probably doesn't need to be said, is a very skilled politician.

Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri is also in the GOP Senate race. The winner of the Brunner-Steelman-Akin primary on Aug. 7 will face Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the fall.


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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