Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin ended her months-long flirtation with a presidential bid Wednesday, announcing in a letter to supporters that she will use her influence next year to help elect Republicans from statehouses to the White House.
Palin’s announcement, which also cited the needs of her family, ends nearly a year’s worth of media speculation about her political aspirations that she fueled with regular public comments and posts on Twitter and Facebook — and with a high-profile bus tour over the summer that included stops in key early-voting states.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has announced she will not compete for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. (Oct. 5)
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she will not run for president. Her announcement Wednesday left little doubt that the eventual Republican nominee will come from the current field of contenders. (Oct. 5)
Among the questions now are whether she will choose to play a role in winnowing the Republican field or confine herself to remaining one of President Obama’s chief adversaries. GOP strategists said Wednesday that Palin’s popularity with tea party activists and her fundraising prowess would help any candidate with whom she aligns herself. Candidates quickly started sending out complimentary statements after Palin’s announcement, suggesting that the courtship for her endorsement has begun.
“Sarah Palin is a good friend, a great American, and a true patriot,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. She will “continue to be a strong voice for conservative values and needed change in Washington,” he added.
Palin’s decision did not come as a surprise to most political strategists, who believed it was too late for her to build a winning organization so close to January, when primary voting is expected to begin. In that respect, the news ends an era for Palin, who rocketed to stardom after being chosen by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as his running mate in 2008 and since then has become something of a cultural phenomenon. Speculation about whether she would run again for national office has never stopped.
Yet some Republicans — and Palin herself — said the announcement also represents a new beginning, allowing the Fox News commentator, tea party favorite and prodigious fundraiser to continue wielding political influence through the 2012 election cycle.
“You’re unshackled, and you’re allowed to be more active,” Palin said in a radio interview with Mark Levin. In a letter to supporters read aloud on Levin’s show and later posted on Facebook, Palin said: “We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the ‘fundamental transformation’ of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law. In the coming weeks, I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the president, retaking the Senate and maintaining the House.”
Palin’s decision virtually seals the Republican field after months of uncertainty about who else might jump in. More than in past years, the nominating contest thus far has been characterized by an unsettled electorate that has yet to coalesce around a single candidate. Voters have bounced from one favorite to the next, and donors have pleaded with leaders who had already said no.