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Trump campaigns with right-wing precursor Sarah Palin

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ANCHORAGE (AFP) – Former US president Donald Trump campaigned on Saturday (July 9) in Alaska for Ms Sarah Palin, the northern state’s former governor whose ascendency many view as the populist precursor to Trump’s anti-elite movement.

The two firebrand politicians have both been key figures in the Republican party’s shift over the past decade to target the aggrieved working class.

They both have also touted unfounded claims that there was widespread election fraud in the 2020 election, at least in those key states that Mr Trump lost.

“In Alaska, we didn’t have to worry about it, because we won,” Mr Trump told the stadium crowd.

Ms Palin was catapulted into the limelight when she was chosen by the late Arizona senator John McCain as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election.

A Christian conservative who leaned hard into her outsider status, Ms Palin’s rise during the 2008 campaign is widely seen as paving the way for businessman Donald Trump to successfully take the White House eight years later.

Their norm-busting brands stood in direct opposition to previous Republican standard-bearers Mitt Romney and McCain, who this week received a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

Ms Palin, an early supporter of Trump’s 2016 campaign, told the audience she was partly drawn to the New Yorker because he had supported her when she and her family were the subject of intense media attention.

“He would write me a note and he would say ‘hang in there,'” she said.

The 58-year-old Palin is seeking to succeed Republican Don Young who died unexpectedly last month after serving in the US House for 49 years.

The US midterm elections, in which all 435 House seats are up for grabs, are set for November 8.

While the largest US state by area, Alaska has only one representative in the House due to its sparse population.

Mr Trump has sought to reaffirm his grip over the Republican party through selective endorsements of candidates in primary elections, the winners of which will stand in the midterms this November.

The former president’s picks, almost all of whom support his unfounded claims of rampant election fraud in the 2020 election, have had mixed success in the Republican primaries.

Also speaking at Mr Trump’s Alaska rally was Kelly Tshibaka, whom Mr Trump endorsed to unseat Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Mr Trump called Ms Murkowski, who voted to impeach him following the January 6th assault on the US Capitol, “worse than a Democrat.”

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