Chuck Plunkett of the Denver Post reminds Coloradans of one of the key unanswered questions shadowing the acrimonious contest between Jane Norton and Ken Buck–“Why didn’t Sarah Palin endorse in Colorado’s Republican Senate primary?”
In his link-baiting post “Is Sarah Palin sexist?” Plunkett highlights the gender battle that made its way into the Senate primary, when Buck responded to a Norton attack ad questioning why Buck was not “man enough” to do his own attack ads, relying instead on extensive help from outside groups. A few days later, Buck, when asked why someone should vote for him at a libertarian think-tank luncheon, said, “Because I do not wear high heels.” Buck’s answer stirred the Norton campaign into high gear, and the quote quickly went national–and negative–as TV ads and flyers lambasted his comments.
Buck had earlier earned some backlash after calling a planned appearance by Sarah Palin “rude.” The event had been in the works for months, and just happened to coincide with the Colorado GOP State Assembly, which Norton had chosen to bypass in favor of petitioning onto the August primary ballot. Many observers, including folks from the Buck campaign, suspected that Palin might endorse Norton during her appearance. Instead, Palin dubbed Norton one of the “mama grizzlies,” conservative women who would help restore the country, but failed to endorse her campaign.
That Palin chose to remain out of Colorado’s Senate primary while endorsing another candidate in CO-3 could simply be a decision borne of strategic considerations. As Plunkett argues, a Palin endorsement for either Norton or Buck might have been too costly, given the weight of factors like Sen. John McCain stumping for Norton and the Tea Party support for Buck.
According to the Washington Post, Palin has endorsed in 34 races and has actually chosen to back more men than women (20 to 14). She has also split her support evenly between so-called establishment and Tea Party/grassroots candidates.