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Sarah Palin's Midterm Scorecard: A Winning Record, but Some Key Losses

3 years ago
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Sarah Palin came out a big winner in terms of raw numbers Tuesday, but saw four of her key endorsees take prominent losses in the midterm elections.

The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee offered her star power -- and the occasional campaign contribution or robocall -- to more than 100 conservative candidates during the primary and general elections.

A Politics Daily tally puts Palin's Tuesday successes at 62 wins, 23 losses and seven contests that are still too close to call, with Palin's candidates trailing in five of those races.

That's a 70 percent win rate, but some of the defeats loom large.

Alaska's Senate race must be the most vexing and bitter of Palin's potential Tuesday losses. Her man Joe Miller finished with 34 percent of the vote, trailing the 41 percent going to "write-in," a.k.a. GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Sarah PalinPalin's political action committee, Sarah PAC, proffered its first campaign donation ($5,000) to Murkowski in June 2009. But it turned out that Murkowski was no "Mama Grizzly" in Palin's book. Palin endorsed challenger Joe Miller a year later, calling him a "true Commonsense Constitutional Conservative" on her Facebook page. The Tea Party Express also endorsed him.

When Miller won the primary and Murkowski decided to mount a write-in campaign, things got nasty. "Lisa, are you going to shut down my Facebook page for writing this?" was the title of a post Palin wrote on the social network site. Another post was headlined "Lisa's gall vs. Miller's Honor." At one point, she quoted Clarence Darrow (of the ACLU and Populist Party) on Twitter: "Joe Miller - do not give up. It's you against the machine. This is it. ' "Lost causes" are the only ones worth fighting for.' Clarence Darrow."

But it doesn't look like Palin power was enough in her home state.

Here's a snapshot of how she fared on Tuesday:

Other big losses:
Palin came out strong for Christine O'Donnell in her Delaware Senate primary against moderate GOP congressman Mike Castle and continued to support her despite allegations of campaign spending problems, bankruptcy and, well, dabbling in witchcraft as a young woman. O'Donnell lost big in a seat the GOP originally expected to pick up (though Palin and her supporters contend that Castle would have lost as well). Former HP executive Carly Fiorina was an early Mama Grizzly, but she lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in California. Palin endorsed Nevada Republican nominee Sharron Angle against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after Angle won the primary. But Angle's antics drove away prominent Republicans, and Reid ultimately held onto his seat. In West Virginia, polls briefly indicated endorsee John Raese might overtake Gov. Joe Manchin in their Senate contest, but it was not to be.

Big wins:
Palin got on the Rand Paul Senate bandwagon in Kentucky early and he proved to be her first win Tuesday. "Mama Grizzlies" Nikki Haley in South Carolina and Susana Martinez in New Mexico won their governorships -- and Haley owes some of her success to Palin, who campaigned for her and stood by her in the face of adultery allegations. Former "Real World" star Sean Duffy won in Wisconsin. And in Florida, Palin endorsed Marco Rubio in the Senate race and Rick Scott for governor.

"Mama Grizzlies" roundup:
Nineteen of the 25 women Palin endorsed in the general election won, and one race is still undecided.

Health-care targets: After President Obama's health care reform package became law, Palin targeted Democrats from GOP-leaning districts who voted for it. Only two of those 20 candidates lost, with one race in Arizona still too close to call.

One other big Tuesday win:
Daughter Bristol Palin stayed alive on "Dancing With the Stars," one of five celebrity dancers left on the show. But -- oops! -- Bristol apparently forgot to vote in the midterms, and Joe Miller (and her mom) can't be liking that.

The 2012 presidential election: This may be what it's all about. With Palin candidates winning in Iowa (Terry Branstad, governor) , New Hampshire (Kelly Ayotte, Senate) and South Carolina (Haley), the original "Mama Grizzly" may be looking for primary payback down the road.


VIDEO: You Said It
Ahead of the midterm elections, we asked Americans across the country what they think about Sarah Palin's political influence. Click the play button below to watch their responses:

Filed Under: Woman Up

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