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Sarah Palin's Endorsement: Curse or Blessing?

3 years ago
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Tuesday could be a big day in determining how far Sarah Palin's endorsement star power goes. Two of Palin's most high profile and perhaps most controversial "mama grizzlies" face Republican primaries June 8.

In South Carolina, beleaguered state Rep. Nikki Haley is considered the front-runner in a four-way primary for governor. In the two weeks before the election, however, two men have said they've had affairs with the state lawmaker. Haley has denied the accusations and Palin is sticking by her candidate.

In California, two recent polls show Carly Fiorina in the lead against two men in the primary to decide who will challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer. But Palin's endorsement of the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive engendered plenty of backlash from conservatives who disagreed with the nod.

And on Thursday, Palin offered her endorsement to former Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa, who faces a three-way GOP primary Tuesday to face Democratic Gov. Chet Culver. Palin's support of Branstad came the same day that Focus on the Family founder James Dobson endorsed one of his opponents, Bob Vander Plaats. (Vander Plaats also has the backing of actor Chuck Norris.)

Using Facebook and her political action committee, SarahPAC, the former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor has been active as a kingmaker -- or would that be queenmaker? -- in the 2010 midterm elections.

But so far, her record is mixed. Palin is 3-3 in congressional endorsements and 2-0 in gubernatorial endorsements this year.

A review of Federal Election Commission records and Palin's Facebook notes reveals she's endorsed or donated to 13 U.S. Senate candidates, 11 U.S. House candidates, and now six gubernatorial candidates.

Palin's winners thus far:

Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul's GOP primary victory last month may be Palin's most influential win, though Paul's subsequent comments on civil rights and other issues drew plenty of criticism.

Rob Portman won the GOP Senate nomination in Ohio earlier this month, while Adam Kinzinger won his primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson in Illinois' 11th Congressional District.

This week, Susana Martinez won her gubernatorial primary in New Mexico and will face Lt. Gov. Diane Denish in November.

Palin also endorsed incumbent Gov. Rick Perry of Texas in his March GOP primary victory over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

Then there are the losers:

GOP "young gun" Vaughn Ward lost his May congressional primary in Idaho after controversy about his use of several lines from President Barack Obama's 2004 Democratic National Convention address, among other things.

Former Fox News analyst Angela McGlowan lost her congressional primary Tuesday in Mississippi.

And last month, Pennsylvania GOP businessman Tim Burns lost to Democrat Mark Critz in a special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha.

Some of Palin's picks are safe for the primary season. Of her Senate candidates, five incumbents -- Richard Burr of North Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Charles Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota -- face no primary opposition. Five of her House candidates -- incumbent Reps. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, Jeannette Schmidt of Ohio, Tom Rooney of Florida, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, along with Allen West in Florida's 22nd District -- don't face primaries. Thursday, Palin also endorsed House candidate Cecile Bledsoe of Arkansas.

In one Senate race, however, Palin has played both sides of the GOP aisle. This week, Palin gave her blessing to Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Ironically, just about a year ago, her PAC donated $5,000 to Murkowski's campaign. In a Facebook post endorsing Miller she explained her turnabout by saying that Murkowski opposes repealing health care reform, supports taxpayer funds for abortion and embryonic stem cell research, voted for granting "amnesty" to illegal immigrants, and believes "Al Gore's insistence that man-made global warming is fact."

In addition to Miller, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Washington state candidate Clint Didier, and Missouri candidate Roy Blunt all face primaries later this summer or fall. Sean Duffy is favored in a September primary in Wisconsin's 7th District.

Meanwhile, it appears Palin is already looking at least four years ahead, donating $1,000 to Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Tuesday's contests in South Carolina and California could say a lot about the extent of Palin's influence.

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123 Comments

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denjaggers

I do not see the value of the constant attacks on Sarah Palin. It solidifies her base and makes is very clearly pushing Independents away from the political agenda of those attacking her. The ongoing smear campaign is unprecedented and seriously bordering on psychotic.

June 04 2010 at 8:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
David S.

I have nothing against Sarah Palin, but how is it that she claims to be so staunchly "pro-life" and endorses Carly Fiorini, who supports abortion rights? Yes, I realize a Republican running for state-wide office in California has to be very moderate --- that's just the politics of the state. But why couldn't Palin just not endorse anyone in the race? Seems she isn't practicing what she preaches.

June 04 2010 at 3:57 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to David S.'s comment
dccwest

An endorsement from Sarah Palin would be horrible. The association would be embarrassing.

June 04 2010 at 3:16 PM Report abuse -10 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dccwest's comment
tistolaugh

I would be much more embarrassed of and Obama endorsement. Especially since everyone he had endorsed so far went down in flames. Ouch.

June 04 2010 at 6:27 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
elmoziffle

If Sarah Palin burps, farts or opens her mouth, the media goes crazy. Were sick of her and wish she would stop getting any media coverage.

June 04 2010 at 2:59 PM Report abuse -10 rate up rate down Reply
bagsamoney

Wouldn't it be great if everyone could have heard both sides of Palin's story and not just the biased media's version? Treat yourselves to the other side of her story and then make an EDUCATED judgement.

June 04 2010 at 2:53 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bagsamoney's comment
mattc867

Yep, did that and came to the conclusion that the media isn't hard enough on her. She's too incompetent to be in charge of anything more than a beauty pageant.

June 04 2010 at 3:11 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
attilla918

Palin is a pretty face, but no substance. Her tenure as Governor made her well known for her anti environmental and wildlife views. These views will certainly hurt her in any run for the presidency in the future. She is backing our Governor here in Arizona and I will vote for Gov. Brewer in spite of Palin's endorsement of her, not because of it. I think she does more harm than good!

June 04 2010 at 2:52 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to attilla918's comment
jbailey

Thank You someone got it right !!!!!!!

June 04 2010 at 7:09 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
andrc657

Sarah needs to go back to school and learn about the issues in some depth. She also needs to drop the DRILL BABY DRILL routine. If Sarah learned a bit more she might be a good congressperson from her district. Eventually she might be able to run for higher office i.e. Senator. Meanwhile I don't think her endorsement helps much except with a small right wing group.

June 04 2010 at 2:51 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
babylonjj

Since the left wing media and left wing talk show hosts, continually go after Governor Palin, in a negative/nasty manner, I would say she is their biggest fear/threat. She says what the majority of Americans feel and talks about issues that matter to us. However, even when attacked, she handles it like the courageous and classy lady that she is! Like the Governor of Arizona, she stands behind what she believes is right and for what the majority wants.

June 04 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
gmootsbass

ummmmm the EPA and our Federal government are doing NOTHING to help us in this oil fiasco, and you lead with a Palin bashing story. What a wonderful leader we are following now!

June 04 2010 at 2:36 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gmootsbass's comment
mattc867

I mostly agree. If Palin is the Republican nominee in 2012 I am absolutely positive that they might as well be handing President Obama a second term.

I'm still convinced she cost McCain the election.

June 04 2010 at 3:08 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
roryzsss

No doubt that Palin has charisma, as the public cannot seem to get enough of her. Also, she has a particular appeal to evangelicals, prolifers and anti gay rights groups. Whats troubling from the perspective that she might represent the GOP in 2012 is her lack of support from female voters. It comes down to this, ask yourself, could she beat Obama. In my opinion she can't. The reps need someone new (besides: Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Guliani, Cheney's daughter etc), a fresh face if they want to win in 2012.

June 04 2010 at 2:31 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to roryzsss's comment
jimlysa

What is wrong is the ridiculous notion that a "fresh face" will somehow work miracles to fix our situation. First of all, Sarah is a fresh face and a refreshing intellect and commentator, as well. More important is the fact that core beliefs are the only things that can alter our present, horrific condition. Sarah has core beliefs that comport with the vast majority of this Nation. Unfortunately, many of us are too rapt up in our lives to do more than read headlines and biased articles like this one. Hopefully, Congressman Ryan's concept of presenting actual, belief based proposals before the electorate will cause us to focus on what really is necessary to solve our problems: smaller government and less taxes. I believe that Sarah Palin has the star quality to sell her core beliefs to the public. I see her as the next Reagan, who was derided by his critics as an actor and an intellectual lightweight.

June 04 2010 at 5:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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