05/30/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Will Palin Endorse McCain In Senate Race?

Gov. Sarah Palin has not yet publicly endorsed John McCain in his primary challenge in 2010 despite Arizona Republican's role in transforming her from a little-known governor to a nationally recognized vice presidential candidate.

An aide to the Alaska Governor would not say for sure whether an endorsement of McCain during his 2010 primary race was forthcoming, stressing that this was a decision to be made between the two.

"Any political endorsements the Governor may provide will be discussed directly with the candidate," said Palin spokesperson Meghan Stapleton.

There is, to be sure, some time before the Arizona Republican primary will begin in earnest. And to this point, no other national GOP official has felt compelled to offer McCain his or her support. Over time, the chips, including Palin's, will fall where they may.

Still, the politics of the race are worth noting. For the first time in recent memory, John McCain finds himself with a serious (albeit probably non-fatal) threat to his Senate seat. Chris Simcox, the founder of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and a fierce clamp-down-the-border advocate, has a national support structure as well as a rallying cry to stir the GOP base. His candidacy, in some respects, seems far more in-tune with the conservative firebrand message that personified Palin's role as VP candidate. And Simcox has said that when he supported the Republican presidential ticket in 2008, he did so because he backed Palin, but not the man at the top of the ticket.

McCain, for his part, has taken some heat from the Alaska governor's most passionate supporters for not giving his early endorsement to a Palin 2012 presidential campaign, should she run.

In the end, though, it is hard to see how Palin does not endorse McCain, if nothing else as a nod for tapping her as his running mate. But, unlike '08, it could be she, not McCain, who holds the cards. Should McCain need to stem his losses among Simcox-leaning Republicans, for instance, the extent to which Palin is willing to campaign on his behalf could have real electoral implications.

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