Sarah Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, just released a video highlighting different candidates they supported who won Tuesday night.
While some in the media are painting the evening as horrible for her it becomes pretty apparent that they can’t add and are confused as to who she actually endorsed. Josh Painter pointed out that she had a pretty good night, it wasn’t 100% (who did bat .1000?), but it wasn’t dismal as some on the left would have you believe. Josh writes:
The truth is Palin-endorsed national candidates (there were 94 of them in the general election) have won 60 and lost 26, with 8 races undecided. Of the decided races, she has a winning percentage of 70.6% so far. That’s over two-thirds of the candidates she has endorsed. Even were her endorsed candidates to lose the remaining nine undecided contests, she would still have a winning percentage of 63.8, or better than three out of five. Not bad at all, especially considering all of the underdogs and long shot candidates the governor endorsed in these races. Notice that no one in the media is talking about any other political figure’s endorsements and how they fared in the midterms. That speaks volumes in itself.
Andrew Malcolm also points out something that everybody should remember, there were more people than just Sarah Palin stumping for these candidates and then there are the candidates themselves. So no win or loss can be entirely pinned on a single endorsement. Regardless, Sarah Palin made some good picks and should she decide to run in 2012, laid a pretty good foundation.
An speaking of 2012… yes, I know you’re excited to talk about 2012, I want to look at the Iowa Caucus in particular.
First, I have to tip my hat to the work Rick Santorum did with his Iowa Keystone PAC. He dumped a ton of money here and campaigned on behalf of numerous candidates. Ron Paul was also very active doing several fundraisers in Iowa for both individual candidates and for the state party and had a grassroots organization in play. Newt Gingrich spoke several times, but he doesn’t have any organization that I’m aware of.
Mike Huckabee was in the state early on, but after Bob Vander Plaats lost the gubernatorial race he wasn’t in the state quite as much. He is speaking at a fundraiser for the Iowa Family Policy Center Action later this month, and like Ron Paul, has a great grassroots organization and he also endorsed in several state races. The fact he won the 2008 Caucus gives him an edge as he already has a strong base in Iowa.
Then we also have Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty who camped out in Iowa, also did several fundraisers for state candidates, established an Iowa PAC, and made endorsements through his Freedom First PAC. Mitt Romney also endorsed in Iowa, and was here sparingly. I’m not sure about any state candidates that he endorsed beyond Terry Branstad… as I’ve said before I think Romney’s impact in Iowa will be minimal. He has been weighed and measured and found wanting. My opinion, but I don’t believe with the current landscape in Iowa that he could win the Caucus.
Governor Palin batted .500 with two endorsements. She endorsed former Governor Terry Branstad who won and endorsed Attorney General candidate Brenna Findley who lost (which had nothing to do with her endorsement I might add). She also spoke at an incredibly successful fundraiser for the Republican Party of Iowa.
In terms of impact in Iowa’s state races… I think the winners are Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul. They were here campaigning on behalf of, and held fundraisers for state legislative candidates. I think Huckabee’s greatest effort was in the Gubernatorial campaign, but he also endorsed Brenna Findley and several legislative candidates (like Kim Pearson who pulled off an upset in Iowa House District 42 and Kent Sorenson who won in Iowa Senate District 37). Like I mentioned before he already has an advantage being the 2008 winner.
Where does that leave Sarah Palin? Should she choose to run it is very apparent she has broad support and can draw a crowd. She is also a prolific fundraiser. When it comes to Iowa though, she’s running a little behind. I just see some lost 2010 opportunities, but it is still early. My advice to her (and any other presidential candidate who seeks to do well here) is to not just go big, but go small. We Iowans are spoiled; we are used to being able to meet our candidates and bend their ear. That is simply impossible to do with large events. So come early and often to the Hawkeye state. Make sure to do two or three stops in Iowa if there is a book tour for America By Heart, and get some grassroots organization started out here. She also needs to reach out to social conservatives and tea party folks (many of whom are one in the same). I know that Governor Palin is a different breed of politician, but there are rules that apply to everybody and those are some of the rules here in Iowa.
If she runs in 2012, I hope that she takes my advice.