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Sarah Palin-backed primary candidates hit losing skid

WASHINGTON - It's been a summer of setbacks for Sarah Palin. Candidate "cubs" endorsed by the Mama Grizzly in Chief have been suffering a recent string of primary election losses.

The Republicans' 2008 vice presidential nominee promised a pack of "mama grizzly" candidates would defeat Democrats in November. But office-seekers she supported in Kansas, Wyoming and Washington state lost their primaries despite her endorsements. And Karen Handel lost her runoff contest for Georgia governor a day after sharing an Atlanta stage with Palin.

Now, Alaska's Senate primary on Tuesday is shaping up as an embarrassing defeat in her own backyard. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is expected to dispatch the challenger Palin has endorsed in the Republican contest.

Palin says it isn't about picking winners.

"Regardless of whether the many candidates I've had the honor of endorsing win or lose this time around, I support them because they boldly shake things up in their primary races," she said in a Facebook message.

Her choices have included a mix of tea party favorites and other anti-establishment figures. She backed former Super Bowl champion Clint Didier over Dino Rossi in Washington state's GOP Senate primary. Didier lost on Tuesday.

She supported staunchly conservative Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the Kansas GOP Senate primary. He was defeated by Rep. Jerry Moran on Aug. 3.

In Wyoming, Rita Meyer, whom Palin described as "a unique blend of steel magnolia and mama grizzly," lost a squeaker of a gubernatorial primary to Matt Mead.

And she's going with former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte over wealthy businessmen Bill Binnie and Jim Bender in the state's Sept. 14 Senate primary, a move that drew a Page 1 rebuke in The New Hampshire Union Leader.

"The race will be won by the candidate who impresses New Hampshire voters, and New Hampshire voters are rarely impressed by what outsiders have to say," wrote publisher Joseph McQuaid.

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