Former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin accused the state Republican Party of “elitism” following an alleged “backroom deal” for the party to endorse another candidate to fill the seat of late GOP Alaska Rep. Don Young.

Palin announced on April 1 that she would seek election to Young’s seat in Congress. Alaska has one member of the House of Representatives. The former governor quickly gained support for her congressional bid, earning former President Donald Trump’s endorsement within two days of her declaration.

The Alaska GOP Central Committee opted for one of Palin’s opponents, Nick Begich III, earning sharp condemnation from the former governor.

“Most of the delegates hadn’t even arrived in Fairbanks yet before news arrived that a backroom deal had already been struck for an endorsement from state party politicos picking a Democrat scion – who has supported, contributed to, voted for, and rooted on hard-core Democrats and RINOs – as the Party’s standard bearer,” Palin said. “This predictable action of the Party establishment proves that the old boys’ network is alive and well in Alaska, but the only endorsement that matters is the one from the Alaskan people on June 11.”

The state party emphasized that their endorsement was not exclusive, but more a stamp of approval.

“It’s not an exclusive,” Alaska GOP party Vice Chairman Craig Campbell said, according to the Anchorage Daily News. “If other Republicans that are running would like to have the endorsement, they’re encouraged to contact the party chair and to make that request in writing, and we’ll process it.”

Palin called the committee’s decision to issue an endorsement prior to the candidate forums “a slap in the face of convention delegates” and “a betrayal of all Alaskans who believe in fair play and an equal playing field.”

Begich was the only candidate in the House race to seek the party’s endorsement as of Friday morning, Campbell said.

“It’s this type of elitism that I’ll go to Washington to combat. Establishment players who put party machinations ahead of the people are the reason Washington is broken,” Palin continued.

The Alaska state GOP convention runs through Saturday.

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