▶ Watch Video: Sarah Palin announces run for Congress

Washington — Former President Donald Trump on Sunday endorsed Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, in her bid for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House.

Trump in a statement lauded Palin as a “wonderful patriot” and said her entrance into the race “means there will be a true America First fighter” on the ballot.

“Sarah shocked many when she endorsed me very early in 2016, and we won big. Now, it’s my turn,” the former president said. “Sarah has been a champion for Alaska values, Alaska energy, Alaska jobs, and the great people of Alaska.”

Trump went on to call Palin “tough and smart,” and he called for Republicans to unite behind her. Palin endorsed Trump in January 2016.

Palin announced her candidacy for Alaska’s seat in the House on Friday, joining a crowded field of at least 40 candidates who are vying to fill the late GOP Rep. Don Young’s seat, which he held for nearly five decades. Young died at the age of 88 last month.

A special election to finish the rest of Young’s term, which ends in January 2023, will be held this summer. A primary is set for June 11, followed by the special general election August 16.

In revealing her decision to jump into the race for the special election, Palin said “America is at a tipping point” and lamented that Alaskans are “struggling with out-of-control inflation, empty shelves and gas prices that are among the highest in the world.”

“At this critical time in our nation’s history, we need leaders who will combat the left’s socialist, big-government, America-last agenda,” Palin said.

Palin began her career in politics as a member of the Wasilla, Alaska, city council before becoming mayor. She was elected governor of Alaska in 2006 and served in the role until her resignation in 2009. Palin rose to national prominence after she was selected as John McCain’s running mate on the Republican ticket in 2008. McCain, though, revealed in his 2018 memoir that he regretted selecting Palin as his running mate instead of Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent.

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