The Washington Times - October 22, 2009, 09:22PM

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, endorsed the Conservative Party candidate in New York’s 23rd congressional special election over the Republican candidate in the race on Thursday evening. Her action increased the race’s profile as a national test between the GOP establishment and the conservative base.

Mrs. Palin’s endorsement hours after former House Majority Leader Dick Armey endorsed Doug Hoffman for the seat and spent the day campaigning with him in New York. Meanwhile, establishment Republican groups, like the National Republican Congressional Committee, and others such as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich have stood by the Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava, who takes liberal position on many issues. The NRCC strongly urged Republicans to quit supporting Mr. Hoffman, arguing that any support for Mr. Hoffman will erode support for the more electable Mrs. Scozzafava and only help the Democratic candidate in the three-way race, Bill Owens.

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“Political parties must stand for something,” Mrs. Palin’s endorsement said. “When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of ‘blurring the lines’ between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections. Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate who more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. This is why Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party’s ticket.”

“Republicans and conservatives around the country are sending an important message to the Republican establishment in their outstanding grassroots support for Doug Hoffman: no more politics as usual.” Mrs. Palin said.