The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Palin Goes to Iowa, Which Means... What?


I’ve been called out on Twitter for “ignor[ing] this BIG breaking story” this evening. Never mind that it’s been out for an hour and I’ve been on solo daddy duty for six hours with a toddler with – well, let’s just say messy gastro-intestinal issues; the fact that I didn’t write about it immediately seems to generate some worries of a continuing conspiracy aimed at downplaying the possibility of a Sarah Palin presidential bid.

The story:

Sarah Palin is making a surprise trip to Iowa this weekend, just in time to catch the political spotlight trained on the Ames straw poll.

In an email to supporters Wednesday, Palin said she’s accepted an invitation “to meet folks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this week.”

Palin doesn’t say which day she plans to appear at the fair, which coincides with the straw poll but is a separate event about half an hour away. An Iowa GOP activist who is close to Palin, Becky Beach, told the Des Moines Register the visit was slated for Friday.

Palin writes that the trip marks the latest installment in her “One Nation” bus tour. She spent a week in late May touring East Coast historical sites on the last leg of the bus tour.

She’s been in Alaska since then, except for a high-profile trip to Pella, Iowa, in June, when she attended the local premiere of a documentary about her political rise.

So there you have it. Sarah Palin, who has given periodic comments about “fire in the belly,” but who has hired little if any staff for a potential presidential campaign, whose PAC has $1.4 million on hand (and that money cannot be transferred to a presidential campaign), has taken one more step that kinda sorta might be hinting towards a run, but we’re not sure.

Meanwhile, Bachmann is actually running and Perry appears set to jump in, two figures whose natural constituencies would seem to overlap with Palin’s. As I’ve noted, the closest thing we have to an actual deadline for a presidential campaign is November 1 filing deadline to appear on the ballot in South Carolina. Of course, Florida is still deciding their primary date, and the special committee of state lawmakers selecting the new date has to have it picked out by October 1; depending on how early they make their primary date, they may choose to make the filing deadline earlier than November 1.

Is Palin running? If she is, she’s waiting until the last possible minute to assemble the apparatus of a campaign – the manager, the radio, television, and Internet advertising team, the advance team setting up events in every key primary state, etc. Yes, if she runs, she’ll have access to many enthusiastic grassroots supporters, but a high-stakes presidential campaign is a rough time to have amateurs learning as they go.

Palin’s decision making is way too unpredictable for someone on the outside to say definitively that she’s running or not running. But if she isn’t running, this lack of activity and assembly as the campaign heats up will make a lot more sense.

Tags: Sarah Palin


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