Sarah Palin today endorsed Florida Republican Rep. Sandy Adams in her Member-vs.-Member GOP primary brawl with 10-term Rep. John Mica. It is the former vice presidential candidate's first House endorsement this cycle.
Adams, a freshman, has strong tea party support in the Sunshine State's 7th district, a seat north of Orlando where both Members are running as a result of redistricting. Mica, the chairman of the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has locked up a solid chunk of establishment backing.
The former Alaska governor's endorsement goes a few steps beyond a boilerplate statement and knocks Mica.
"In 2012, we have a unique opportunity to elect more commonsense conservatives to Congress, but that alone is not enough. We must support conservatives who are with us on the issues but not weighed down with the burden of crony capitalism that is so prevalent in Washington, D.C." Palin said in a release from the Adams campaign. "Unlike her opponent, Sandy is free from the shackles of lobbyists and back door dealings in Washington. As someone who served in the military and a career law enforcement officer, Sandy doesn’t have time or the patience for the business as usual ways of Washington."
Mica's campaign hit back.
"All of Sandy Adams support is coming form outside the district," Mica campaign spokesman Alan Byrd said. "Obviously, Sandy Adams did not tell Sarah Palin Sandy's true record of being the only person in this race who voted to spend Obama's stimulus dollars and raise taxes. Adams' record does not match her rhetoric."
The contest has already heated up and Florida GOP operatives expect it to devolve into an extremely nasty affair as the Aug. 14 primary nears. The district is safely Republican, so the winner of the primary is highly likely to come back to Congress in January of next year.