Now that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has decided not to run for president, strategists of both parties expect her to continue to play a role in conservative politics from the sidelines.
She will make lots of money as a conservative voice on the lecture circuit and as a commentator on Fox News, and probably will eventually endorse a candidate for the Republican nomination. And her imprimatur will be valuable because she still has many loyal followers. She said she will also campaign for conservative candidates across the country.
Some Palin fans hope she will run for president as an independent next year, but that possibility seems remote because the odds against success are so daunting and Palin has so many other ways to use her time and energy.
In an email to supporters last night, Palin, who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008, said, "As always, my family comes first" but added: "I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office--from the nation's governors to congressional seats and the presidency."
I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for president where our candidates must embrace immediate action toward energy independence through domestic resource developments of conventional energy sources, along with renewables. We must reduce tax burdens and onerous regulations that kill American industry, and our candidates must always push to minimize government to strengthen and allow the private sector to create jobs.
For the past several months, Palin seemed to tease the GOP establishment by seeming interested in a White House run, only to pull back. "She seemed to be serious about running one moment, and not serious the next," says a former adviser to a Republican presidential nominee. "She still has a following but it's diminished substantially."
The latest polls have Palin, as a hypothetical candidate, lagging far behind top-tier hopefuls Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, businessman Herman Cain, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Palin's decision not to run followed by one day the announcement by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that he will not enter the race.
The remaining group of GOP candidates features Romney as the favorite of the GOP establishment and others competing to be his main challenger and attempting to carve out support among hard-line conservatives and Tea Party activists who would have been Palin's base. The candidates in that category include Perry, Cain, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, and former Sen. Rick Santorum on Pennsylvania.
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