In a continuing battle of endorsements between front-running Republican candidates for Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District seat, Robin Smith met Friday with former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Joining pro-life leaders invited from across the nation for the Susan B. Anthony List "Celebration of Life" breakfast in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Smith was recognized in Gov. Palin's address and had an audience with her at the event.
"She asked how the campaign is going, and she encouraged me to keep speaking and being an independent force," Mrs. Smith said.
At this point there's been no discussion of an endorsement, Mrs. Smith said, but "without question it would be a tremendous honor if that decision were made. ... We'll see what materializes."
Chuck Fleischmann, one of Mrs. Smith's opponents for the primary nomination, recently received an endorsement from Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas who sought the Republican presidential nomination in the 2008 primaries.
Mr. Huckabee won the GOP primary in Tennessee in 2008.
The Huckabee endorsement surprised the Smith campaign, which had received indications from the local Huckabee camp that she would receive his endorsement.
"I don't believe Sarah Palin would endorse her (Mrs. Smith). That would be a bit of a surprise," Mr. Fleischmann said Friday. "And I don't see any significance in her being invited to the breakfast."
Susan B. Anthony List is one of the pre-eminent anti-abortion organizations in America, and Mrs. Smith said the breakfast event was to introduce the candidates the organization has endorsed.
She also said she is very pleased to have the endorsement of folks such as Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the new leaders of the younger House of Representatives, along with the Club for Growth, a conservative group that advocates fiscal responsibility.
As for losing the Huckabee endorsement, Mrs. Smith said she was honored when the Tennessee Huckpack folks -- the local contingent -- voiced their opposition to Gov. Huckabee endorsing her opponent.
"Personally, it means so much more to me that the grass-roots, everyday citizen that has worked very hard ... to get Gov. Huckabee elected in this state made their endorsement with me," she said.
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