The former Republican vice presidential candidate made headlines recently for losing a libel lawsuit against The New York Times. She showed minimal signs that she was prepping for a political race then, but she apparently saw a fruitful opportunity in the seat vacated by Rep. Don Young, a Republican who died last month.
In her campaign announcement, Palin said she would be “honored” to represent Alaska as Young did and vowed to fight against "the left’s socialist, big-government, America-last agenda."
If nothing else, Palin has always had the GOP’s conspiratorial verbiage down to a science. She’s also received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, for what it’s worth.
Palin is one of more than 50 candidates vying to fill the remainder of Young's term in a special election to be held in June. If you’re wondering what incentive she has to run for a seat she may only hold for a few months (in the House minority, at that), I’m right there with you. But I do have some suspicions.
Here are a few reasons why she might be drawn to run:
Palin's legal team just received a shellacking from the Times' lawyers. Before then, perhaps the most notable news about her involved a videotaped brawl featuring several members of her family. And before that, of course, she was widely seen as an embarrassing sidekick in then-Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential run. This House race won’t earn her the nationwide approval she sought then, but it could be a win of sorts after a string of public embarrassments.
It’s also possible Palin is making a play to entrench herself in the House beyond this fall. With some election forecasters predicting Republicans will gain control of the House in November, it’s possible Palin is trying to get in while the getting is good. She was a gaffe-machine during her vice presidential bid, but in a hypothetical House majority, she could have more power to impose her political will on the country than ever before. Especially if her GOP colleagues are interested in giving her that power to “own the libs.”
That leads me to my final suspicion. It’s entirely possible Palin is doing this solely for attention. She broke onto the national stage as conservative firebrand who was willing to make dubious claims for political gain. Now, the GOP is swarming with similar characters, and Palin is no longer the face of the right-wing movement. In that sense, the self-proclaimed “Mama Grizzly” comes across as the “cool mom” trying to fit in to a movement that has passed her by, a la Amy Poehler in “Mean Girls.”