The Campaign Spot

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

The Uphill Climb a ‘Draft Palin’ Effort Would Face Today


A couple of Sarah Palin fans are looking at today’s article about the proposed, and ultimately dismissed, idea of writing in Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, or Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan in New Hampshire’s primary and wondering whether to try to write in Palin in the remaining GOP primaries and caucuses.

If a Draft Palin movement were to begin in earnest, the best-case scenario would leave the former Alaska governor with a decent number of delegates, but not enough to win the nomination — unless she pulled off the Tebow-esque political miracle of winning a significant number of delegates in primaries as a write-in option. While anything is technically possible by persuading enough Republican primary voters, it would be a Herculean task. (For Palin, perhaps Athena is the better metaphor?)

The first task would be to get Palin listed on the ballot in the states where the primary ballot is not yet finalized. The deadline to qualify for the Rhode Island Republican presidential primary ballot is tomorrow, January 19, with just two weeks to secure 1,000 valid signatures on their nomination papers to earn a spot on the ballot. So perhaps Palin wouldn’t be able to get on the ballot in Rhode Island, putting any or more than a handful of its 19 delegates out of reach.

A candidate entering today would, at least in theory, have time to get on the ballots in West Virginia (January 28), Kentucky (January 31), Indiana (February 10), Pennsylvania (February 14), Delaware (February 24), Arkansas (March 1), Connecticut (March 2), Oregon (March 6), Nebraska (March 7), Montana (March 12), Utah (March 15), California (March 23), and South Dakota (March 27).

Most Republican caucuses do not have any formal filing deadline; to compete in those contests, the candidate would simply have needed a group of dedicated supporters registered to vote in those caucuses. These states include Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming.

An all-out Draft Palin effort could get her on the ballot in 24 states, not counting Rhode Island. The primary states still open to new candidates offer up to 604 delegates, and the caucus states still open to new candidates offer up to 371 delegates. That adds up to 975 delegates, which is less than the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination.

Of course, if Palin were to go into a divided GOP convention with a couple hundred delegates, she might be in a position to play kingmaker. But she has seemed reluctant to pursue that option, never formally endorsing any of the remaining GOP candidates.

Informally, however . . .

Hannity asked Palin if she was any closer to an endorsement of a presidential candidate.

“Well, I could tell you what I would do if I were a South Carolinian,” Palin told Hannity.

“That’s close to an endorsement,” Hannity said.

“If I had to vote in South Carolina, in order to keep this thing going I’d vote for Newt and I would want this to continue,” Palin said. “More debates, more vetting of candidates because we know the mistake made in our country four years ago was having a candidate that was not vetted, to the degree that he should have been so that we knew what his associations and his pals represented and what went into his thinking, the shaping of who our president today is.”

In short, she is urging, “Vote Newt, at least for now.” Gingrich must be wondering if he can get her to say that in a formal ceremony.

Tags: Newt Gingrich , Sarah Palin


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