Tea Party Activists Want Sarah Palin To Run For Senate
If a group of Tea Party activists get their way, Sarah Palin would challenge Mark Begich for the Senate in 2014:
SEATTLE — Sarah Palin’s last elective position in Alaska ended early when in 2009 she abandoned the governorship midway through her first term.
But tea party activists appear eager for a comeback, urging supporters to contribute money toward recruiting Palin to run for the U.S. Senate in her home state, where, according to an email sent out this week, she has a “clear path” to defeat incumbent Democrat Mark Begich.
“You and I both know that Sarah Palin is a fighter who will stand up to Harry Reid and his pals in the Senate to protect our Constitution in issues like amnesty, gun control and our nation’s crushing debt,” said the email from Todd Cefaratti of the Tea Party Leadership Fund.
“We know that, with Sarah in the Senate, conservatives across America can rest a little easier at night knowing that she’s at the watch,” it said.
If Palin is enthusiastic about running for the Senate in Alaska, she hasn’t said so. Nor has her popularity in Alaska endured to the degree that it has on the national stage since her nomination to the GOP presidential ticket in 2008 and subsequent years as a conservative media celebrity.
“I don’t see Governor Palin really as a likely opponent,” said Anchorage pollster Matt Larkin of Dittman Research, which did work for Palin’s gubernatorial campaign. “She doesn’t have the popularity that she once had in the state of Alaska; it’s fallen off significantly.”
Begich managed to win the seat in a state where Republicans hold a substantial edge by running against the late Republican Sen. Ted Stevens when he was under indictment on federal corruption charges and was found guilty on the eve of the 2008 election. The case was later tossed out.
Since then, though, Begich has toed an independent line, pushing strongly for oil and gas development in Alaska in votes that differed little on Alaska resource issues from those of GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
“His numbers are absolutely as good as they could be, given a state like Alaska,” state Democratic Party spokesman Zack Fields said
A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling in Alaska back in February indeed showed that Begich’s numbers are in good shape, and that Palin would not be much of a threat to him:
Begich has a 49% approval rating, with 39% of voters disapproving of him. He’s holding up pretty well in the Republican leaning state because independents give him good marks by a 54/32 margin, and he has crossover support from 24% of GOP voters.
In hypothetical head to heads Begich leads Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan 47/41, Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell 47/39, former Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman 50/40, former Governor Sarah Palin 54/38, and 2010 nominee Joe Miller 58/30. Palin’s numbers are a reflection of her continuing to be very unpopular on the home front- 34% of voters see her positively to 59% with a negative opinion. She looks popular by comparison to Miller though- he has only a 20% favorability rating with 63% of voters giving him poor marks.
So, despite the best dreams of the Tea Party crowd, a Palin candidacy would likely be a disaster for the Alaska GOP. So, I’m sure the Begich campaign hopes she runs.