Sarah Palin's horse may have not won in New York's 23rd district special election last night, but she offered encouragement for the future Doug Hoffmans of the world in a message posted to her Facebook page last night, about half an hour after multiple networks had called the race for Democrat Bill Owens.

Palin wrote:

...The race for New York's 23rd District is not over, just postponed until 2010. The issues of this election have always centered on the economy -- on the need for fiscal restraint, smaller government, and policies that encourage jobs. In 2010, these issues will be even more crucial to the electorate. I commend Doug Hoffman and all the other under-dog candidates who have the courage to put themselves out there and run against the odds.

To the tireless grassroots patriots who worked so hard in that race and to future citizen-candidates like Doug, please remember Reagan's words of encouragement after his defeat in 1976:

"The cause goes on. Don't get cynical because look at yourselves and what you were willing to do, and recognize that there are millions and millions of Americans out there that want what you want, that want it to be that way, that want it to be a shining city on a hill."

The cause goes on.

- Sarah Palin

See her full note here, in which she poses the GOP wins in Virginia and New Jersey as "a victory for common sense and fiscal stability."

Palin's endorsement of Hoffman a week and a half ago marked a crescendo, of sorts, for the outside attention that New York's 23rd district had drawn. In her lengthy endorsement note, also posted to Facebook, she posed the race as emblematic of a broader national "crossroads" and wrote mostly about national issues and conservative ideology--government spending, borrowing, taxes, and national defense.

After Hoffman lost last night, network analysts started asking whether he had been done in by all the outside attention--from Palin, FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and the slew of conservative publications, mostly based outside of New York, that endorsed him.

Hoffman's defeat may or may not have indicated anything about the viability of conservative House candidates, grassroots energy in America, and whether the present anti-tax, anti-spending zeitgeist of conservatism can be applied, like a rubber stamp, to races far and wide.

The NY-23 race had its own concerns, and Hoffman's disastrous interview with the Watertown Daily Times, which led to a headline/sub-head of "Few Answers"/"Hoffman unfamiliar with district issues" in the local paper, probably, we can guess, had something to do with his defeat.

But if Hoffman-like candidates are to rise up again in the future, challenging the Republican establishment as unlikely politicians with platforms of aggressive fiscal conservatism--in other words, the platform of Palin and tea partiers--it looks like Palin isn't giving up on them just yet.

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