Sarah Palin, the Tea Party darling and former half-term governor of Alaska, officially endorsed fellow cable television star Donald Trump for president on Tuesday afternoon.
"I am proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President of the United States of America," Palin said in an emailed statement from the Trump campaign.
Palin was catapulted to national stardom when she was picked by Arizona Senator John McCain to be the Republican vice presidential nominee during the 2008 election, when her folksy demeanor and gaffes on the campaign trail were lampooned by Saturday Night Live and countless others. Though she is widely derided by liberals, her endorsement holds considerable sway among hardcore conservatives. She served as governor of Alaska from 2006 until her resignation in 2009.
"I am greatly honored to receive Sarah's endorsement," Trump said in a statement. "She is a friend, and a high quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support."
Palin's endorsement is among the most sought-after in this current Republican race and what Trump with his New York accent would call a yuge win. Though she hasn't held elected office in six years, Palin continues to be a powerful megaphone in the conservative wing of the GOP, with a voice that is especially amplified on cable television. She regularly appears on Fox News as a political commentator, hosts her own political news show, and launched her own network, the Sarah Palin Channel.
In August, Palin gave an interview with Trump on her show On Point With Sarah Palin, during which Trump called her a "truly terrific person."
Historically, Palin's support has yielded positive results for candidates. She endorsed several Tea Party candidates during the 2010 congressional elections who went on to win big, including some of Trump's biggest rivals in this current primary race: Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
Palin's stamp of approval comes just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses take place. Trump has been campaigning hard in Iowa, where he is currently neck and neck with Cruz, in an attempt to win over the state's conservative Christian base.
Palin's endorsement might be the tipping point Trump needs to finally pull ahead in the state.
"Palin's brand among evangelicals is as gold as the faucets in Trump tower," Ralph Reed, the chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told the New York Times. "Endorsements alone don't guarantee victory, but Palin's embrace of Trump may turn the fight over the evangelical vote into a war for the soul of the party."
Will Palin make a difference? If nothing else she— Taniel (@Taniel) January 19, 2016
There had been rampant speculation that Palin might endorse Trump, especially after his campaign announced yesterday that he would be making a "big announcement" featuring a "very special guest" in Ames, Iowa.
Palin joined Trump for a campaign event in Iowa today, and will also be with him for several more tomorrow, according to a statement from Trump's campaign.
Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @Obecker928