Culture

Palin’s next act unclear after Alaska House race losses


By Becky Bohrer | Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska — Republican Sarah Palin re-emerged in Alaska politics over a decade after resigning as governor with hopes of winning the state’s U.S. House seat. She had a lot going for her: unbeatable name recognition, the backing of former President Donald Trump in a state he carried twice, an unrivaled ability to attract national media attention.

But she struggled to catch fire with voters, some of whom were put off by her 2009 resignation, and ran what critics saw as a lackluster campaign against a Republican endorsed by state party leaders and a breakout Democrat who pitched herself as a regular Alaskan and ran on a platform of “fish, family and freedom.”

Palin lost two elections for the House seat Republican Don Young held for 49 years before his death in March — an August special ballot to determine who would serve the remainder of his term and the Nov. 8 general election for a full two-year term. Results of the Nov. 8 election were announced Wednesday. Both ranked-choice votes were won by Democrat Mary Peltola, who is Yup’ik and with her win in the special election became the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress.

Peltola, a former state lawmaker, avoided the sniping between Palin and Republican Nick Begich, who cast the former governor as a quitter and self-promoter. Palin suggested that Begich, who entered the race last fall, months before Palin, and is from a family of prominent Democrats, was a “plant” siphoning votes from her. The two nonetheless encouraged a “rank the red” strategy ahead of this month’s election in hopes of recapturing the seat for the GOP. The general election also included a Libertarian who lagged far behind.

Jim Lottsfeldt, a political consultant affiliated with a super PAC that supported Peltola, said the elections to many looked like “easy layups” for Republicans.

Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee, could have “run away” with them but didn’t seem focused, he said. He cited as missteps Palin’s trips outside Alaska, including one to New York days before the general election, and “goofy” events at home, including one put on by a political action committee that was sparsely attended and featured a James Brown tribute performer.

With the losses, Lottsfeldt said, the one-time conservative sensation becomes “sort of old news.”

Republican strategist Brad Todd said Palin “had a lot of the characteristics that President Trump had before President Trump came along. And now there are plenty of imitators of President Trump.” He said that poses a challenge for someone like Palin, who has “a lot more company in her lane than she had 12, 14 years ago.”

“One challenge, and President Trump will have this challenge as well, is if you’re going to be the sort of like mercenary sent to fight big battles, you need to win,” Todd said.

But he said the “anti-elite vernacular” common in the Republican party comes naturally to Palin, and two election losses won’t “stop her from being a very powerful surrogate for some people if …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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