Todd  and Sarah Palin
Todd Palin endorsed Newt Gingrich for president Monday Reuters

A GOP candidate has finally received a Palin endorsement, but not one you'd expect. Todd Palin, Sarah's snowmobiling husband, said he admired Newt Gingrich's tenacity after most of his staff dumped him early on in the campaign.

Just like Sarah, Newt has faced many successes and challenges, Palin wrote in a statement published on Gingrich's website. Despite his consultants leaving him last summer, Newt is still standing because of his ideas and his success in debates - not by spending millions of dollars in campaign ads.

An endorsement from the former First Dude of Alaska may have been unexpected, particularly because his role in politics doesn't extend much further than standing by his wife's side. But it still carries some clout. Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor argues that Gingrich hopes to equate Todd's nod with Sarah -- who still has a strong following of social conservatives and tea partiers.

It would give Gingrich more tea party bona fides in his competition with Rick Santorum for the non-Mitt Romney primary slot, Grier wrote.

Gingrich was thrilled over the news, tweeting to his followers he was honored. On Fox News, he tried to squeeze Sarah into the picture.

Sarah said a couple of days ago that she thought that Mitt was the weakest candidate we could put up and I was frankly thrilled to have Todd's support, Gingrich said. Sometime down the road Sarah may come along.

Todd Palin told ABC News, however, his endorsement does not equate with one from his wife. He said his wife was still deciding on who is able to go up against Barack Obama, but that won't stop Sarah Palin's biggest fans from making the name association -- or Gingrich trying to milk it for all its worth.

Sarah Palin teased about a presidential run for weeks, and she continues to be elusive about who will win her favor. The politician-turned-pundit promised an endorsement after the Iowa caucuses, which happened last week. It could be because social conservatives have been bouncing from candidate to candidate and she's waiting to see who they will rally around.

That endorsement may or may not come by the time of -- or during -- the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Feb. 11, where Mrs. Palin will be the keynote speaker, Shushanna Walsh and Huma Khan wrote for ABC News.