Palin Considers Senate Run
They said it couldn’t happen. They said she was done.
But she does not like being done.
At the very least Sarah Palin is making headlines with idle threats. At most, she actually is doing what she says, and considering a run for the U.S. Senate.
“I’ve considered it because people have requested me [to] consider it,” Palin told conservative radio host Sean Hannity on his show.
Ever the reluctant leader. As a matter of fact, she told Sean Hannity once that George Washington was her favorite founding father for just that reason. He wasn’t seeking power and prestige, or a place in the klieg lights, but his loyal subjects demanded it. It’s just like what’s happening with Palin, only in that case it was actually true.
“I’m still waiting to see what the lineup will be. And hoping there will be some new blood, new energy. Not just kind of picking from the same old politicians in the state that come from political families.”
By “the state,” she means Alaska, to answer your last question. She’s not seen much around here these days, and has purchased and spent a great deal of time in a large stone dwelling in Scottsdale, Arizona. McCain fans will be pleased to know she’s not a threat at this time.
So far, the only two in the Alaska race against incumbent Senator Mark Begich are current Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell, and a candidate who ran with Palin’s praise and blessing last time, Tea Party Republican Joe Miller. Miller won the nomination of the Republican Party outright, but lost in a three-way race for the seat to incumbent Republican/write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski.
But, if Palin is considering a run against Miller, and considers him after one failed senate attempt one of those “same old politicians,” then it may have something to do with a story we uncovered back in 2010. An internal email obtained by The Mudflats revealed that in exchange for Palin’s endorsement of Miller, a reciprocal nod was expected, and fireworks ensued when it didn’t come. Miller, in a clear effort to distance himself from Palin, (whose approval rating in the state of Alaska was lower than Barack Obama’s at the time) refused to state directly that he thought Sarah Palin was qualified to be President, when asked in an interview.
In return, Todd Palin blasted him with an angry email in which he said, “Joe, please explain how this endorsement stuff works, is it to be completely one-sided?” Todd Palin then told Miller that a fundraising post on Facebook that Sarah had been working on would not be sent, in retribution for his less than enthusiastic support.
Regardless of whether the chill in Palin/Miller relations had anything to do with his loss, lose he did. and now, Begich’s seat is the one up for grabs.
Begich, the former two-term Anchorage mayor was elected in 2008, defeating incumbent Republican Ted Stevens who, at the time, stood convicted of seven bribery and illegal gift related felonies. Prosecutorial misconduct got charges dropped, and Stevens was killed in a plane crash two years later.
Begich has been sticking with a mostly left-leaning social agenda, but has been tacking far right on oil development, gun rights, offshore drilling, loosening regulations on petroleum exploration, opening ANWR, and not coming out against the Pebble Mine project. This has the Democratic base in fits. He’s also been squishy on civil liberties in the case of the National Defense Authorization Agreement, but voted right in line with Murkowski, a Republican. He’s been widely criticized in progressive circles as being far too right, and has even characterized himself as a Rockefeller Republican.
But of course, even red is not red enough for the ex-half-governor.
“Sen. Mark Begich has got to be replaced,” Palin told Hannity. “He had not done what he had promised to do for the people of Alaska, which is to represent what it is the nation needs in terms of energy development.” Why she picked the one thing he probably aligns closest with her on to harp about is anyone’s guess.
“Because he’s on the wrong side of the aisle, he has to go along to get along with his Democrat leadership, and that’s a shame,” she continued. “That’s a waste of opportunity for our nation.”
A Harper poll from earlier in the year posed the question to Alaska voters how they would vote in a Begich vs. Palin matchup. Begich came out ahead 47% to 40%. Harper is right-leaning firm, but the results are still disturbingly close considering that the last time Palin held elected office in the state, it didn’t turn out so well.
The same poll showed Begich leading Treadwell 44% to 34%, and Miller by a whopping 59% to 29%.
Numbers guru Nate Silver of the New York Times had this to say about the Alaska race:
Mark Begich, the Democratic incumbent in Alaska, is one of the more unusual cases: his approval ratings are adequate, despite having a rather liberal voting record in a deeply red state. Part of this may be because Alaska is idiosyncratic, with a large number of independent and libertarian-leaning voters that do not fit neatly into the ideological spectrum. Still, what tips this race slightly into the “lean Democratic” category is the possibility that Joe Miller, a Tea Party favorite, could win the Republican nomination and then face considerable problems next November.
If Palin does hop in the pool, the Alaska senate race will be the one to watch on the national stage, both for its relevance to the balance of the senate, and its popcorn ability. Already one of five states in play to potentially determine the majority party, the fundraising potential of the race would rise astronomically if Palin entered the picture. Palin would be able to raise well from a national base, and Begich from a national base who never wants Palin in a position of power again. They’d rather have her stay in the seat she’s in – behind a desk at Fox News.