Is Palin The Game Changer?

Former Alaska Governor, Former Vice Presidential Candidate and current conservative mega-star Sarah Palin has endorsed South Carolina State Representative Nikki Haley for Governor.

It was the third bit of good news for the Haley campaign this week, following the ReformSC committment to promote transparency legislation that has been her signature issue and the announcement that Former First Lady Jenny Sanford will stump with Haley in the Low Country.

Will these developments affect the race? 

Remember when Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship*

Anyone?  Anyone?  Beuller?   Generational reference, I guess…

Anyway, the Haley campaign has gone from air-breather to starship with Palin’s endorsement being the warp drive.  It will now be a campaign with national attention, a Tea Party bellwether and a test of Palin’s star power.  It will attract more of a spotlight (and money) to Haley and give her a taller podium from which to speak.

Someone whose opinion I treasure tells me South Carolinians don’t give a hoot-n-holler about “outsider” endorsements.  He doesn’t think ANY endorsements really mean that much.  I’m not so sure that can apply to today’s political environment and Sarah Palin.

Palin’s star power in the Palmetto State is solid.  It’s a Fox News state and her aw shucks demeanor, plain talk, motherhood, gun-totin’ and general kick ass image fits right along with a lot of folks in South Carolina.  That’s particularly true with women because she’s like so many of them! 

I spoke with some folks when the endorsement made news and one of them said “who [in South Carolina] doesn’t love Sarah Palin?”

I gave him three names:

Gresham Barrett:  Barrett is toast.  His association with a Congress that allowed the economic mess to reach TARP proportions is the anti-Palin and that contrast will become more stark.  His campaign is having a hard time getting past the booing last year at a Tea Party event and now the candidate who likes to tout his “conservative credentials” has been dissed by the Queen Bee of Conservatives.

Andre Bauer: The Lt. Governor’s base in not very well-defined, though some believe he has an “in” with seniors.  Without a large core of voters, his campaign will lose traction and this endorsement could very well be the slick in the road that sends his candidacy over the edge.

Henry McMaster: Attorney General McMaster is staking his race on “leadership,” name recognition and associating himself with Ronald Reagan.  The leadership portfolio is being undermined somewhat by the ReformSC ads that highlight Nikki Haley’s charge on transparency, so any edge McMaster may have on that topic might be diluted.  Name recognition is now a moot point; I’ll bet more people in South Carolina know Palin’s name than McMaster’s.  As for Ronald Reagan:  as much as I love that man, he’s dead and Sarah Palin isn’t.  Young conservative voters in particular will relate more with Palin than Reagan (which saddens me, but… there it is).

Palin is also a favorite of the religious right and, face it, it’s hard to be more religious right than South Carolina.

By no means do I believe the race is over or that Nikki Haley will win by such a margin in the primary that no run-off will be necessary.  This one endorsement is not the smoking gun that does in the rest of the candidates.  It does, however, pack a powerful wallop.

So, will the Palin endorsement be a game changer?  Yeah.  I think so. 

In fact, I think it’s a whole ‘nother game.

/CS/

*Trivia:  Jefferson Starships first album was “Blows Against The Empire.”  Kinda interesting given Haley’s campaign against the “empire” of a status quo legislature.

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10 thoughts on “Is Palin The Game Changer?

  1. You’re dreaming Garnet. Palin may attract some attention, but Haley’s way behind. Even if Haley were to somehow come out on top in the primary, she would still have to face Sheheen. She’s underfunded, under-recognized (Palin will help) and nearly out of time.

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    • In what respect is she “way behind” other than fundraising? Do dollars now count as votes? Polls have been all over the place the last six months and she’s steadily improved. Name recognition IS important and, as you said, Palin will help. But in the digital world, three weeks is a lifetime and Palin’s media attention will be huge for Haley. As for the general election, should Haley win the primary, her campaign’s momentum will be tough for the Dems to overcome. BEING Dems will be tough to overcome, particularly in these Obama contaminated times.

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      • Garnet – Money and votes:

        McMaster – 29 percent
        Bauer – 19 percent
        Barrett – 18 percent
        Haley – 15 percent

        She’d have to double her support in something like 20 days in order to have a chance at even forcing a runoff. McMaster will take the primary, Barrett is falling apart and Bauer, poor little “Boy Blunder” will never garner enough votes to force the runoff.

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        • That poll reflects a five-point pick-up in ONE WEEK. That’s huge. Besides, she doesn’t have to double to make the run-off, just grab another 4 points or so, since that’s the gap between her and second-place. Gotta have 50% to avoid a run-off and even if McMaster gets all the remaining undecideds (he won’t), it won’t give him 50%.

          I see Haley picking up more undecideds AND some of Barrett’s. Bauer may also lose some to her. I think McMaster has peaked @ 29-30%. When the Palin/Haley ads hit the airwaves, Haley will likely surge to enough in the 20% range at the expense of both Andre and Gresham.

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  2. American patriot
    It is obvious there are many quaking in their boots. The American Citizen, tax paying voting public are ready to take this country back. Palin exemplifies this and so does Haley..perfect…no…no one is; but head and shoulders above the rest!
    Bauer…a total joke and embarrassment. If you are embarrassed by Sanford; you will be mortified by Bauer!
    Barrett…who wants SC to be run like Congress? Only a total idiot!
    McMaster….what, again, and again and again, when will it end?
    Haley has bigger kuhonas than most of these nitwits and has stood strong to prove it.
    Palin has rock star status and can run with the “BIG DOGS”! All of you panty waist wimps will get your buts kicked by these girls!
    Today, 9:41:30 PM
    – Flag – Like – Reply – Delete – Edit – Moderate

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  3. I can’t believe Palin endorsed Nikki Haley considering Haley voted for Obama’s stimulus! I remember Palin was one of the few Gov’s (God bless her) that really fought Obama on that $$. Haley on the other hand, voted to take the money but pretends she opposed it all along on the campaign trail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOSyd1vt0C8 I really despise political hypocrisy like that. Nikki Haley, saying anything to get elected.

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    • Nikki Haley voted AGAINST the stimulus package pushed down from Washington. On May 12th of last year, she voted against S.577, the bill that ultimately forced Governor Sanford to accept the stimulus money. She also voted against H.3560, which was the final state budget that contained stimulus dollars. In addition, Nikki proposed a 24-hour reading period before the state budget was voted on in an attempt to force legislators to read the bill before voting on it. Her effort was rejected.

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