Trump receives key endorsement from Sarah Palin

Posted at 2:44 PM, Jan 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-19 18:41:25-05

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is set to endorse Donald Trump at the presidential candidate's rally in Ames, Iowa Tuesday night, ABC News has learned.

Monday night, Trump said he had a "big announcement" and that he would joined by a "very special guest,” but that was kept under wraps.

Palin's backing has the potential to be a big boost to Trump’s campaign in Iowa with its conservative electorate and critical evangelical Christian voting bloc. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has been leading Trump in recent polls in the state.

Earlier, Cruz tweeted: “Regardless of what she does in 2016, I will always be a big fan,” of Palin.

Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, has long praised Trump.

In a Fox News interview last August, Palin commended Trump's immigration policy as "common sense” and, in a Facebook post in December, she praised Trump's proposed ban onMuslims entering the U.S.

Last year, in a Palin went so far as to call Trump a "hero."

"Trump is the candidate giving voice to untold millions of fed-up Americans witnessing a purposeful destruction of our economy and the equal opportunity for success that made America exceptional," she wrote on Facebook.

For his part, Trump has said he would “love” to have Palin in his administration. Palin told CNN she would love to be Trump's energy secretary.

In 2011 the two appeared together at a New York City pizzeria when there was speculation Palin, herself, would run for president. At the time, Trump called Palin a “great woman” and a “good friend.”

And there are other connections too: Palin's former chief of staff, Michael Glassner, is currently Trump's national political director.