Massachusetts State Rep. Jeff Perry (R) captured the GOP nomination for his state’s 10th Congressional District with the strong backing of the tea party movement, but he’s not interested in an endorsement from a key leader of that movement — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. In an interview with the cable news channel NECN, Perry said, “I don’t want her to come down” and campaign for him, dismissing her as “an entertainer.” Perry even said that if she called him personally and asked to come campaign for him, he would say “no”:
HOST: A lot of tea party people who support you. The de facto leader, if there is one, in the tea party, Sarah Palin, do you want her to campaign for you in the 10th?
PERRY: No I don’t. I don’t want her to come down. She’s represents — she’s an entertainer, she represents the tea party movement nationally, but the tea party movement in the 10th district, whether it be the group in Quincy, the group in Pembroke, or the group on the Cape, they’re just hard working people […].
HOST: Can we just for one second talk about that entertainer as you call her for one second. She calls you on the phone and says Jeff Perry, I’d like to come, I’m not asking you for to invite me — I’d like to come. You’re going to say no?
PERRY: I’m going to say no, yes.
Perry’s rebuff of Palin is especially surprising considering his ties to the tea party movement. “With all the increased energy in the Tea Party movement, I’ve been right there alongside them on the issues,” Perry said earlier this month. “I go to Tea Party meetings,” he said in another interview. He even attended a tea party rally in Boston earlier this year that featured Palin. However, apparently realizing the danger in attacking the tea party’s “mama grizzly,” Perry later backpedaled on his “entertainer” comment, telling the Boston Herald that is was probably not the “best choice of words” to describe Palin. “I supported her for vice president. I think she’s a tremendous personality,” Perry explained.