Sarah Palin
Sarah PalinIsrael news photo: Sarah Palin video screenshot

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, currently a Fox News commentator, has decided not to run for president of the United States.

In a letter to her supporters that cited the needs of her family, she announced Wednesday that instead she will use her influence to help elect Republicans to the White House.

“Not being a candidate, you are unshackled and able to be even more active,” she said in a letter read on the Mark Levin radio show. “I look forward to using all the tools at my disposal to get the right people in there who have a servant's heart... In the coming weeks, I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the president, retaking the Senate and maintaining the House.”

The announcement ends nearly a year's speculation about what Palin would do, given her numerous trips around the country and to Jerusalem.

During the last presidential elections, Palin ran on the Republican ticket as a vice presidential candidate with Senator John McCain, who ran for president.

They lost to first-time Illinois Senator Barack Hussein Obama, the now-incumbent Democratic presidential candidate.

Nevertheless, Palin remains a Tea Party favorite and a Republican fundraisers' asset in many circles – a fact that became obvious the moment her announcement was made.

Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry, a declared candidate for the White House, immediately released a statement of praise for  Palin in response. “Sarah Palin is a good friend, a great American, and a true patriot,” he said, adding that she will “continue to be a strong voice for conservative values and needed change in Washington.”

Palin's exit from the lineup leaves the field open for main front-runners Mitt Romney, Perry and Michelle Bachman, as well as a number of others.