Republican Congressman: Sarah Palin Cost GOP Control Of The Senate

Alabama Republican Spencer Bauchus isn’t too thrilled with Sarah Palin right now:

Shelby County’s congressman, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin likely cost the Republican Party control of the U.S. Senate.

Bachus made his remarks on Nov. 4 at the monthly luncheon meeting of the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce, held at the Columbiana United Methodist Church.

“The Senate would be Republican today except for states (in which Palin endorsed candidates) like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware,” Bachus said. “Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate.”

He said Tea Party candidates did well in U.S. House races, but in the U.S. Senate races, “They didn’t do well at all.”

To be fair, I’m not at all sure that this is accurate. Angle lost because she gave Harry Reid more than enough ammunition with which to destroy her. Ken Buck lost because he spent far too much time talking about social issues. Carly Fiorina lost because she was a Republican in California. And, well, Christine O’Donnell lost because she’s Christine O’Donnell.

While Palin’s endorsement likely did help O’Donnell win the primary in Delaware and Buck win the primary in Colorado, that isn’t true of either California or Nevada. These four candidates lost mostly because of their own weaknesses. Palin also endorsed Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, both of whom won. So it’s not really the Palin endorsement that is the problem, but the fact that Palin endorsed fundamentally weak candidates in those races.

So I don’t think it’s accurate to say that Sarah Palin cost the GOP the Senate. She didn’t help very much when she choose to back losers like O’Donnell, but the problems were far deeper than that.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. largebill says:

    It is getting difficult to figure which party is dumber.
    Democrats today falsely claim their loss shouldn’t reflect on Pelosi. Her arrogance (have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it) was used in nearly every competitive House race as an example of how out of touch Dems are with regular Americans.
    Republicans afraid they were being out-dumbed have this fool attack a figure that generated tons of enthusiasm that helped garner control of the House. Yep, she didn’t win every race so let’s dump on her. What an idiot!
    We did not vote for Republican control last week. We voted to take it from Dems. If Republicans make the mistake of thinking our only concern is which party is in charge they will be back in the minority in two years. Electing liberals like Castle just because they promise to put the letter (R) after their name was not the goal of the motivated voters.

  2. tom says:

    Why can’t these republicans/liberals get their facts straight?

    Palin didn’t endorse anyone in the republican primaries of NV, CO…

  3. RefudiateObama2012 says:

    Doug, I hope you do a better job with details in your real job than you’ve done here. Palin DID NOT endorse Angle or Buck in their primaries. Bachus is full of crap, and you missed the opportunity to show it.

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Doug also failed to point out anything Coons did that might have cost him the election. But then Doug is a progressive. No matter what he says, his actions and blog speak much louder than his denial or statement that he is a libertarian.

  5. Smooth Jazz says:

    Let me guess: Another Palin hit piece is written, and Doug/OTB stand at the ready, chomping at the bit to push his “Palin is toxic” meme. Like clockwork. Only this time he doesn’t even take the time to acknowledge that Palin didn’t support anyone in the NV or CO primaries as a number of posters have already pointed out.

    Good lord, it’s going to be a Loooonnnnggggg 2 years as blogs like OTB, DailyKOS, Huffington Post, et al jump on every Palin story to push every meme out there – “Palin is divisive”, “Palin is a Dunce”, “Palin is toxic”, blah blah blah over and over and over again. All the while, ignoring the 2 most divisive politicians in the US, Nancy Pelosi & Pres Obama.

    You guys at OTB better hope Gov Palin stays around and runs in 2012 – It will allow you to post a gazzilion times about how she could never win because of x,y,z,a,b,c etc tec etc.

  6. Trumwill says:

    It could be said that it speaks well of this blog that its authors are lumped with the left-wing by some and right-wing by others. Unfortunately, I think it has more to do with the mindlessness of some of the commenters who can’t fathom disagreement that isn’t abject hostility to their worldview.

  7. narciso says:

    The difference is the leftwing blogs in the ‘reality based community’ know what they are doing,
    this place, honestly is clueless and is proud of it, so it forwards memes that are atleast partially untrue.

    Now Bachus has some not so noble reasons, for saying what he has, notably how he behaved
    during the last time, Fannie and Freddie were considered to be subject to regulation.

  8. Bugler says:

    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Bachus isn’t terribly comfortable with the Tea Party movement. As a dinosaur porker, he’s in their crosshairs. I hope they get him.

  9. MM says:

    Anyone who thinks that CO would have automatically had a Republican senator has never met Jane “When I say McCain is a friend, I mean he’s a family friend. I don’t even know the guy” Norton. She had her own problems and weaknesses, they just happened to be somewhat different than Buck’s.

  10. As Bachus is a local congressman, several of us were discussing his probable motivations this morning. The most likely conclusion we came up with is that he’s trying to protect his own TARP-loving RINO carcass in 2012.

  11. MstrB says:

    Palin annoys me for the same reason that Pelosi does, the are nothing more that a verbal bumper sticker generator set to random. Sure they say things that inspire like-minded people, but severely lack any substance to evoke any action other than changing the channel.

  12. section9 says:

    Uh, speaking of RINOville, Gerson took after Palin for endorsing Tancredo over Hickenlooper.

    Typical of the Big Government Republicans who drove the Party into the ground like Gerson. Palin only endorsed Tank in the last couple of weeks and even then because the Republican, Maes, was so unacceptable and had shrunk to, like, 5% in the polls. Palin even asked him to withdraw to allow Tancredo a fair shot. And all because Tancredo opposed the Bushies on immigration.

    I guess Gerson wants to pay less for two Mexican helots instead of a fair living wage for one.

    Life’s tough all over, Mike.