An auto story about Sarah Palin? OK, here's the deal …

I never thought I'd be able to write about Sarah Palin and dealers in the same item.

But the former vice presidential candidate has become a player in the 2010 congressional elections, handing out endorsements and donations to a myriad of Republican candidates.

One of the dealers challenging for Congress this fall received a Palin donation, triggering some backlash from his opponent. Palin's political action committee contributed $3,500 to Mike Kelly of Butler, Pa., a Chevy-Cadillac-Hyundai-Kia dealer who is running for the House against incumbent Kathy Dahlkemper in Pennsylvania's 3rd District.

According to, which tracks the Pennsylvania elections, Dahlkemper's campaign sent an e-mail to followers saying Palin “wouldn't know Mike Kelly from a bear in the Wasilla woods.” The campaign e-mail also described Palin's decision to “parachute” into the race as insulting and requested that supporters send in their own donations to Dahlkemper.

It remains to be seen whether Palin will weigh in further on the race.