Sarah Palin’s next act is unclear after her loss in Alaska races for the US House of Representatives
JONO — Republican Sarah Palin has re-emerged in Alaskan politics a decade on after she resigned as governor in hopes of winning the state’s seat in the US House of Representatives. She had a lot of things she wanted: unbeatable name recognition, support for former President Donald Trump in the state he held twice, and an unparalleled ability to attract national media attention.
But she has struggled to catch fire with voters, some of whom were put off by her 2009 resignation, and has run what critics saw as a lackluster campaign against a Republican endorsed by state party leaders and a renegade Democrat who presented herself as a regular Alaska and ran for president. On the platform “Fish, Family and Freedom”.
Palin lost an election for Republican Don Young’s House seat of 49 years before his death in March — a special election in August to decide who will serve the remainder of his term and a general election on November 8 for a full two-year term. The results of the November 8 election were announced on Wednesday. Democrat Mary Beltula, a Yup’ik, won and became the first Alaskan Native to serve in Congress by winning the special election.
[Rep. Mary Peltola wins reelection to full term in Alaska’s U.S. House race]
Beltula, a former state lawmaker, avoided sniping between Palin and Republican Nick Begich, who called the former governor a pariah and a self-promoter. Palin noted that Begich, who entered the race last fall months before Palin, and is from a family of prominent Democrats, was a “factory” that sifted votes from her. Still, the two encouraged a “red order” strategy ahead of this month’s election in hopes of winning back the GOP seat. The general election also included the Libertarian who lagged far behind.
Jim Lützfeldt, a political consultant for the super PAC that supported Peltola, said the election to many looked like “soft rigging” to the Republicans.
He said Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee, could have “run away” with them, but she didn’t seem focused. He cited Palin’s trips outside Alaska as missteps, including a trip to New York days before the general election, and “goofy” events at home, including one put on by a sparsely attended political action committee that included a representative of James Brown.
With losses, Lützfeldt said, the one-time conservative sensibility becomes “kind of old news.”
Republican strategist Brad Todd said that Palin “has a lot of the same characteristics that President Trump had before President Trump came along. Now there are a lot of imitators of President Trump.” He said this is a challenge for someone like Palin, who has “a lot more company in her lane than she did 12 or 14 years ago.”
“One of the challenges, and President Trump will face that challenge as well, is if you’re going to be like the mercenaries who get sent out to fight big fights, you need to win,” Todd said.
But he said that the “anti-elitist slang” common in the Republican Party comes naturally to Palin, and that two electoral losses “wouldn’t stop her from being a very strong alternative to some people if she wanted to be.”
Since the election, Palin has pledged support for efforts aimed at repealing a system approved by Alaska voters in 2020 that replaced party primaries with the first open primary and established voting-by-choice in the general election. This year’s election was the first to be held under this system, which Palin began opposing before the first votes were cast.
[Palin first to sign new ballot initiative to repeal ranked choice voting]
Art Mathias, one of the leaders of the repeal effort, said Palin has a “huge audience” and will be “invaluable” in efforts to advance it.
Palin told reporters on Election Day that she wasn’t sure what she would do in two years if she lost, but said, “My heart goes out to the people of Alaska.” She also said she wanted to talk to members of Congress about what she could do, even outside elected office, to “help ensure that Americans have confidence in what goes on in government.”
The comments were similar to those she made in 2009 when she resigned as governor. Palin attributed her decision to step down to public records requests and ethics complaints that she said had become a distraction.
A former mayor of her hometown of Wasilla, Palin sparked a whiff of interest in conservative politics after she shot to the national stage in 2008 with her populist demeanor and exuberance. She wrote books, appeared on the speaking circuit, appeared on reality TV shows, spent time as a contributor to Fox News and formed a political action committee that has since been disbanded.
While she has largely stayed out of politics in Alaska after leaving the governor’s office, Palin was an early supporter of Trump’s loss in 2016 and made headlines this year with her failed lawsuit against The New York Times.
In an interview in June, she was chafed by suggestions from critics that she had left Alaska behind, saying that she lives in the state, raised her children here and is “in Alaska,” and had recently hit a moose while driving.
Palin creates videos through Cameo, a site where people can pay for personal messages from celebrities. It is advertised at $199.
Palin revived her 2008 slogan, “Dig, baby, drill” during the House race to demand more oil production, and while she and Beltula were friendly, Palin argued that the ranked voting system “produced the farce of sending a Democrat to Congress to represent Alaska, one of the most The states are redder in the country.”
Andrew Halcrow, a former state Republican who ran for governor against Palin and was among the 48 candidates in the special House primary in June, said he didn’t think Palin “really understood and recognized the high percentage of voters who didn’t like her.” He added that Palin had not taken steps to win them over or to woo Begić’s supporters.
Begić was the second candidate to be disqualified in the general election, after Libertarian Chris Bay. When 64,392 votes were carried for Begić in the arranged-choice vote-tabulation process, more than 43,000 votes went to Palin, but about 21,500 of his voters did not choose a second choice or submit their votes to Beltula, who defeated Palin with 55% of the vote.
But Halcrow said he didn’t see Palin disappearing from the stage.
My question is, when did people like Palin or Trump drop out after they lost? “They just escalated their rhetoric,” he said.
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