Palin, Huckabee call Virginia voters
We told you yesterday that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin recorded a phone message encouraging Virginians to get out and vote on Tuesday.
Now, we have learned that a conservative group affiliated with former Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed asked both Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to make calls to nearly 700,000 voters in Virginia.
The Huckabee calls were made Saturday and the Palin calls were made Sunday and today.
The recordings make no mention of Republican candidate Bob McDonnell, who has embraced Huckabee but distanced himself from Palin during the governor's race.
"Virginia, hello, this is Sarah Palin calling to urge you to go to the polls Tuesday and vote to share our principles," Palin said. "The eyes of America will be on Virginia and make no mistake about it, every vote counts. So don't take anything for granted, vote your values on Tuesday, and urge your friends and family to vote, too."
Tucker Martin, a spokesman for McDonnell, said the calls were not being made at the request of the campaign or the Republican Party of Virginia. He said the campaign had no firsthand knowledge of the calls.
Almost all of the Republicans considered top candidates for a 2012 presidential run have made stops in Virginia this year to help McDonnell.
Huckabee attended several rallies with McDonnell in the spring in Bristol, Tazwell, Roanoke and Virginia Beach. He returned last week to host a fundraiser for McDonnell in Newsport News.
But McDonnell has made it pretty clear in recent months that he did not want Palin's help.
McDonnell repeatedly and personally asked Palin for help this summer, but by late August Palin learned that the McDonnell campaign no longer wanted her assistance, Palin aide Meg Stapleton told us a few weeks ago.
Palin drew enormous, enthusiastic crowds in Virginia while campaigning as Sen. John McCain's runningmate during the presidential election last year. But she is a polarizing figure that could turn off independent voters. In the summer, she drew criticism for abruptly resigning as governor and later insisting that the healthcare bill being considered by Congress would cause the creation of "death panels."
The get-out-the-vote calls are being paid for by the Virginia Faith and Freedom Coalition, the state chapter of a national conservative group with the same name that was founded by Reed.
Steve Martin, a spokesman for the Virginia chapter, said the group formed last fall under the name Virginians of Faith, but signed onto to Reed's group in the spring and changed its name. They have been registering people to vote through churches, e-mails and 650,000 pieces of mail.
In addition, the Christian Coalition also has enlisted hundreds of volunteers through churches to canvas neighborhoods and make calls encouraging Christians to vote Tuesday, spokeswoman Michelle Combs said.
November 2, 2009; 6:31 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell
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