Sarah Palin has a pretty impressive track record of endorsing Republican candidates in the primaries and general elections, and then seeing them go on to victory. So why hasn't she got behind Mitt Romney yet?
During the midterm elections, Palin gave a "Mama Grizzly" bump to successful candidates like Nikki Haley and Kelly Ayotte (and less successful ones like Christine O'Donnell). And this time around she backed Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz's victory Tuesday over an establishment candidate in the Republican Senate primary in Texas this week. Palin posted on her Facebook page: "The Tea Party is alive and well. Now, it's on to November!"
But Palin's support for the most prominent Republican in the country right now has been lukewarm at best.
"I am not convinced," she has said of him. "I don't think that the majority of Republican and independent voters are convinced, and that's why you don't see Romney get over that hump."
In another interview, Palin was asked if she was happy with his status as the likely nominee. "Anything is still possible, there can still be a bit of a shake-up," she replied.
How valuable a Palin endorsement would actually be in the general election is unclear. But, as Grio.com contributor Sophia Nelson pointed out on PoliticsNation on Wednesday, Palin has a lot of support from the Republican base, and Romney needs the base to get fired up.
"The Romney campaign really needs someone like Palin who's a conservative darling to say, 'Willard's OK, Romney's OK, and I'm really supporting him,' versus the lukewarm, at best, response that Palin and Gingrich and others have given to Romney up to this point," said Nelson.
Jonathan Allen of Politico agreed, telling the Rev. Al Sharpton: "Sarah Palin's got credibility in part because she caters to that very conservative part of the Republican party that still isn't entirely sold on Mitt Romney."
So, will Palin come around? And just how much will Romney need to pander to get her to do so?