Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has endorsed Rep. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCorker pressed as reelection challenges mount -trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground Senate votes down Paul's bid to revoke war authorizations MORE (R-Ariz.) in his Senate primary, a boost for Flake as he fends off a tough challenge from wealthy businessman Wil Cardon (R).

"Jeff is a proven conservative crusader, and today I am proud to announce my support for his campaign to become the next U.S. Senator from the great state of Arizona," Palin said in a statement provided by Flake's campaign. "Credited by many as the leading anti-earmark crusader in the House, Jeff has fought hard against pork barrel spending — often times casting one of the few GOP 'no' votes on bloated spending measures. He's not afraid to 'go rogue' against his own party and its leadership; and even though he has sometimes suffered the consequences from GOP leaders for failing to toe the party line, yet he continues to fight for what is right."

Flake thanked Palin for the endorsement, calling her a "passionate conservative who has inspired many in the cause to reform Washington."

This is the latest endorsement from Palin, who had stayed largely quiet until this summer about congressional races, and — unlike in 2010 — many of her endorsements have gone to candidates favored by the party establishment. Her backing of Flake makes him the second conservative with many years in Washington facing a challenge from an outsider that she's backed — she also supported Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchFinance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea Week ahead in finance: Clock ticking for GOP on tax reform MORE (R-Utah) in his primary win.

She's also backed candidates without Washington experience, such as former Missouri state Treasurer Sarah Steelman (R), though Steelman is seen as a strong general election candidate and is well-liked by many in the Beltway party establishment.

Though he is expected to win his Aug. 28 primary, Flake had to work harder than some expected to beat back Cardon, who has spent millions of his own dollars attacking Flake's record on immigration. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is retiring.