Palin's activity hints at '12 campaign bid
Share with others:
WASHINGTON -- Sarah Palin is fortifying her small staff of advisers, buying a house in Arizona -- where associates have said she could base a national campaign -- and reviving her schedule of public appearances. The moves are the most concrete signals yet that Ms. Palin, Alaska's former governor, is seriously weighing a Republican presidential bid.
While it is by no means clear that she would be willing to give up her lucrative speaking career and her perch as a Fox News analyst to face the scrutiny and combat that would come with her entrance into the race, she is being pressed by supporters for a decision and has acknowledged that time is running out.
Two people familiar with details of the real estate transaction said Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, have bought a $1.7 million house in Scottsdale, Ariz. Like others interviewed for this article, they would speak only on condition of anonymity so as not to anger the Palins, who have become especially protective of their privacy in the maelstrom that has followed them since 2008, when Ms. Palin was the GOP vice-presidential nominee.
The Arizona Republic over the weekend cited speculation in Scottsdale that the Palins were the house buyers, reporting that the purchase was through a shell company that hid their identity.
While Arizona would be a more convenient travel hub for a presidential campaign than Alaska, there are other reasons the Palins might want a house there. Their daughter Bristol recently bought a house in Maricopa, which is near Scottsdale.
Ms. Palin has reshuffled her staff, rehiring two aides who have helped plan her political events. And she is expected to resume a schedule of public appearances soon -- perhaps as early as this weekend -- to raise her profile at a moment when the GOP presidential field appears to be taking final form.
The drumbeat intensified Tuesday night, when conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon was quoted on RealClearPolitics, a political news site, as saying he was releasing a feature film he made with Ms. Palin's acquiescence about her tenure as governor. The film is to be shown next month in Iowa, whose caucuses open the nominating contest.
Taken together, the moves are at odds with conventional wisdom -- if not wishful thinking -- among establishment Republicans in Washington that Ms. Palin has decided not to run. That thinking has been voiced increasingly as the party's professional political class, which Ms. Palin has railed against, has sought to declare the field of candidates closed.
Ms. Palin would undoubtedly be able to raise substantial campaign financing and attract constant media attention if she ran. But she is a divisive figure in the party and would have to overcome what polls have consistently suggested is skepticism and even opposition to her among some fellow Republicans.
Still, supporters of Palin say her constituency beyond the Beltway remains eager, and aides and associates have said she is receptive to their calls of "Run, Sarah, run."
"All indications are that she will be in; her supporters have an intuition about it," said Jeff Jorgensen, Republican chairman of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, where Ms. Palin came in second in a straw poll last week. "People are looking for somebody, a Ronald Reagan reincarnate, who does not seem to be out there yet."
If she were to enter the race, Ms. Palin would draw significant attention in a field that now features three other former governors -- Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota -- and a smattering of other hopefuls, including Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. None of the likely and declared candidates have fully galvanized the Tea Party activists who form the core of Ms. Palin's support.
"I want to make sure that we have a candidate out there with Tea Party principles," Ms. Palin told Fox News host Sean Hannity last week.
"We have got to have faith that the Republican Party is going to surface somebody who can take on both sides of the aisle," she said on Fox Business Network.
First Published May 26, 2011 12:00 am