Palin revs up push to unseat Murkowski, but only to a point

Sarah Palin wants you to believe she is not a professional politician. But you wouldn’t know that from the way she has inserted herself into the GOP Senate primary in her home state of Alaska.

Palin’s advocacy on behalf of Joe Miller, an insurgent Republican trying to unseat incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary, has been heating up in recent days. It’s something of a risk for Palin at a time when her success rate in endorsements has been falling.

But while Palin has pushed for Miller’s campaign harder in advance of Tuesday’s primary, putting some of her political capital on the line, she has stayed well away from endangering her overall brand. She has not campaigned in person for Miller, who has trailed in most polls by up to 30 points, even though she has campaigned for other candidates she has endorsed, though mostly in the south. Palin went earlier this month to Georgia to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel, who lost in the GOP primary.

Palin did record a robocall for Miller, an Army veteran with a Bronze Star, a Yale Law School degree and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Alaska. The Miller campaign began pushing the robocalls out on Monday to 60,000 likely voters, a campaign spokesman said.

Palin described Miller in the robocall as a “common sense conservative who understands that the Founders wrote the Constitution to limit the power of the federal government” and said he has “the backbone to confront Obama’s radical agenda.”

Palin aides said the reason she did a robocall instead of a personal campaign appearance was because her focus was on helping Miller raise money to get a TV ad on the air in the closing days. Miller raised only $300,000 to Murkowski’s $3.5 million, and had only $84,000 in his war chest on Aug. 4, at a time when Murkowski reported holding $1.8 million in reserve.

Rebecca Mansour, Palin’s online media coordinator, insisted that Palin was not calculating the political pros and cons of who to endorse and whether to appear in person or not.

“The media and Beltway politicos see Governor Palin’s endorsements in terms of ‘tests of influence’ and ‘power,’ but she sees them in terms of first principles,” Mansour said in an e-mail. “She likes to endorse good ‘under dog’ candidates who will shake things up, and Joe Miller has done that.”

In addition, Palin’s husband Todd campaigned for Miller in May. And on Friday, Todd Palin made an e-mail plea to supporters to donate to Miller’s campaign. Todd Palin’s pitch played heavily on the Palin family’s own past battles with the Murkowski family.

“Joe is up against the political establishment and special interests in Alaska, and I can tell you first hand that my own family has had to face such battles before,” Todd said.

Antipathy between Palin and Murkowski goes back some time. When Palin became governor in 2006, she did so by unseating the senator’s father, Frank Murkowski. When Palin resigned from her post as governor three years later, Lisa Murkowski said Palin had “abandoned” the state.

  • Pingback: Hot Air » Primary night: Florida, Arizona, Alaska

  • portlandon

    Jon Ward,pull down the end of your skrit. Your Mitt-slip is showing.

  • philipjames

    This article shows exactly why Sarah Palin does not trust the intelligence of the media… even on the right. She is out waving a friggin sign for Miller today, election day, you dolt Jon Ward. So Ward sits at his desk in Maryland or Washington and gives us the inside scoop of what is going on in Alaska…. and how does he do that? By phone I guess or email…. what a friggin genius. This is how we have to depend on information about Sarah Palin?

    Look, based on how accurate it has been in the past… she is stupid, doesn’t know what she is doing, she is finished, why doesn’t she stay home and mind her own business… all that crap was total sh*t and it is now. Miller is doing just great on his own with appearances… he needs bucks and Sarah is out there trying to raise as much as she can, along with Todd.

    So stick your bullcrap article up your butt where it belongs, along with all the other genius articles by the media over the last two years when it comes to telling us who or what Sarah Palin is.

    • scorpioman

      I’ve been telling them what she is since day 1 but they aren’t listening to me. Although they should.

      • philipjames

        I don’t want to alarm you, but if you keep your head out of your a** too long, which is where it normally resides, the intake of oxygen could permanently damage what is left of your brain cells. So, I would recommend you quickly stick it back up there and save us the health care costs of keeping you on life support. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lars-Svensen/100001028197161 Lars Svensen

    Never underestimate the political acumen and strategic vision of gorgeous, gifted Gov. Sarah Palin. Her timing is immaculate.

  • TxGold

    What’s wrong, scorpio, the new requirments on Fox Nation causing you problems so now you’re on here blubbering?

    • scorpioman

      Honest to God I have never commented on Fox nation. Cross my heart and hope to die. Besides, why would I go there when you can join in the hate fest against me right here?

  • scorpioman

    Sarah Palin is more professional at playing the flute than being a politician. Just a few tweets and her ratfarking followers swarm like rodents escaping from a swollen storm drain.

  • Pingback: Political Wisdom: Primary Day Tests for McCain, Palin - Capital Journal - WSJ

  • SwampYankee

    Jon Ward’s opening sentence: “Sarah Palin wants you to believe she is not a professional politician . . . ”

    Darn! I’ve been had! Been bamboozled! Been snookered again! I thought she was a non-partisan housewife from Alaska without a political agenda at all! Hey Jon, from the rest of your article, I gather she is a conservative and a Republican. Is that really true?