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.

FILED UNDER: 2014 Election, Congress, 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. grumpy realist says:

    Oh, do run, Sarah. It would be a hoot.

    And whoever has the Tea-Partiers pinned as a bunch of marks for the standard Republican election grifters has it absolutely correct.

    (I suspect whoever floated this trial balloon is on the Grifter Election bandwagon as opposed to the True Believer bandwagon.)

  2. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Doug, it’s time to give up on your crush. Palin’s quite happily married, and a grandmother. This fixation of yours is just unseemly.

  3. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    This is the first thing I’ve written about Palin in more than three months.

  4. ernieyeball says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Don’t feed the Troll!!!

  5. Gustopher says:

    I think Alaska is too small potatoes for Sarah Palin — someone needs to oppose Elizabeth Warren, and I think Mrs. Palin would be an excellent fit.

    I do love Sarah Palin, but she’s fallen out of the spotlight a little. She can only siphon money out of the right wing effectively with a high profile gig, like a nice senate campaign in an expensive state, taking her unique views into the heart of liberalism, and fighting the enemy of real America on their own turf.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    As a good liberal Democrat – oh please, please, please.

  7. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Doug Mataconis: And you were doing so well, before this relapse… turn in your poker chip.

    But really, what’s the news here? Some Tea Party people (who are, as I recall, totally irrelevant and powerless and meaningless) want her to run. No comment from Palin, no comment from Begich, just some nobodies chattering.

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Oh, and who is this group pushing for Palin? Pretty much a bunch of nobodies, indeed.

    They probably did this for a bit of publicity. I’m sure they’ll send you a nice thank-you note, Doug.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    You and I both know that Sarah Palin is a fighter who will stand up to Harry Reid and his pals in the Senate run as fast as her two tiny little feet can carry her at the first sign of trouble.

    Fixed that.

  10. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Some Tea Party people (who are, as I recall, totally irrelevant and powerless and meaningless) want her to run.”

    Yes, when Republicans are pushing one of their patented “hey, let’s destroy the country and give the spoils to a handful of billionaires” plans, it’s imperative that congress fall in line because it’s what the Tea Party wants and since the Tea Party represents All True Americans, we must all follow.

    When Republicans feel like changing the subject, magically the Tea Party becomes “totally irrelevatn and powerless and meaningless.”

    It must be convenient to have no core beliefs. It must make like easy to care so little about anything that you can completely contradict yourself from second to second without worrying about foolish things like consistency and accuracy.

  11. @wr:

    Likewise, the Tea Party is always a widespread grass roots organization without a formal structure, until they do something stupid, at which point suddenly everyone involved is not actually part of the “real Tea Party”.

  12. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I think this is more a case of Doug’s commenting on the election grifters that swirl around so many Republican Party candidates (as well as their conviction that there’s money out there to be made from the Tea Party rubes.)

    That Paypal button ain’t gonna push itself, you know…

    (Oh, and OT, but if you want to read something over the top crazy, Padawan Pauly’s latest 145-page screed is an absolute scream. Bad Fiction has the rundown.)

  13. Turk says:

    The chance of Palin running: zero.

    The chance of Palin making vague noises about maybe running so that people talk about her: high.

    Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to kibbitz from the sidelines then to govern. And you make more money.

    She learned that lesson when she quit as governor and went into the private sector.

  14. M. Bouffant says:

    I wouldn’t vote for her unless she’d signed a legally binding pledge to serve at least half of her term. We should get at least that much from her, based on her prior “service.”

  15. Caj says:

    Of course they do. Sarah Palin can run her mouth like nobody’s business even though it’s nothing but pure tripe coming out of it. The more stupid the candidate the better the tea party like it. Sarah Palin has proved she should get the gold medal award for stupidity. So run Sarah run, it was so much fun watching her during the 2008 campaign with all her good old gal phrases! Just what the Senate needs….not!!

  16. Argon says:

    I thought that Newt tried the Presidential candidate grift and actually lost money. So at least Palin beats him there.