Sarah Palin endorses Rep. Jeff Flake over tea party candidate in Arizona Senate race

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

Bucking her tea party predilection yet again this cycle, Sarah Palin on Monday endorsed Republican Rep. Jeff Flake over Wil Cardon in the Arizona U.S. Senate primary.

"Credited by many as the leading anti-earmark crusader in the House, Jeff has fought hard against pork barrel spending—often times casting one of the few GOP 'no' votes on bloated spending measures," the 2008 vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor wrote in her endorsement letter. "He's not afraid to 'go rogue' against his own party and its leadership; and even though he has sometimes suffered the consequences from GOP leaders for failing to toe the party line, yet he continues to fight for what is right."

Palin earlier this year rankled tea partiers when she chose to back sitting Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch over tea party challenger former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist. Hatch easily bested Liljenquist in the June 26 primary.

Cardon, a wealthy businessman, has been angling for conservative support in the open Republican primary, where voters will choose a successor to retiring Republican Sen. Jon Kyl. Flake has amassed high-profile establishment support from Kyl and Sen. John McCain, as well as from the fiscally conservative Club for Growth. Opponents have attacked Flake on immigration during the primary campaign.

Multiple candidates are competing in the Aug. 28 Republican race.

Democrats are banking on former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, a war hero of Hispanic descent who served as surgeon general under President George W. Bush.