Sarah Palin is running out of time. So are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and any other Republicans mulling a bid for the presidency. The main reason: the political calendar is rapidly closing.
Of all those considering a late entry, Palin is the most likely to make the dive. But, according to several GOP and Democratic primary and campaign experts, she should move quickly or else end up being left behind by the established pack of Republican candidates already on the field.
Here are the top five reasons the experts cited for Palin to jump in now:
1. Deadlines for getting on ballots are near. South Carolina is Nov. 1; New Hampshire, Nov. 21. It would be absolutely useless to run if not on the ballots of those states which would be sympathetic and supportive of a Palin bid.
2. The Iowa caucus is set for February 6. Florida's bid to be first could push Iowa's date to January, possibly as early as January 2. That would leave exactly 12 weeks of campaigning for Palin and voters in Iowa and New Hampshire aren't usually kind to candidates who don't spend lots of time with them. Palin has been showing her biographical movie, The Undefeated, to Iowans and has a connection to the voters there, but other conservative candidates, notably Rep. Michele Bachmann, have been working the political landscape there for months. [Read: Insiders Say Palin, Christie Can Still Jump In.]
3. The media is losing interest. Many in the media feel that they are being used by Palin, who won't even provide schedules of her visits to Iowa. That feeling has seeped into coverage, turning voters against her too.
4. Donors and political organizers are taking sides. Most of the establishment players are lining up behind who they think will win the nomination and they won't break those commitments for a candidate like Palin who doesn't seem to have her heart into a full-time effort.
5. The average Wasilla temperature for October is 40 degrees. That's cold and by January 1st it's down to 20, reason enough to head to Florida and South Carolina for some campaign stops.