Palin to hit the campaign trail?

RNC head Michael Steele still wants Palin's help with two gubernatorial races, but no one's sure if she'll give it

By Alex Koppelman
Published July 6, 2009 11:35PM (EDT)

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin hasn't exactly been clear on her reasons for resigning, or what she plans to do to "effect positive change outside government at this moment in time, on another scale, and actually make a difference for our priorities."

One of the most obvious ways for her to continue pushing for her priorities once she officially steps down, though, is to campaign for some of the Republican Party's candidates most in need of help for 2010. Palin remains a star in conservative circles, and she can pull in money and crowds for Republicans across the country.

Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele wants her to do just that. In a statement released the day Palin announced her resignation, he said, "I plan on talking to Governor Palin very soon. She is an important and galvanizing voice in the Republican Party. I believe she will be very helpful to the party this year as we wage critical campaigns in Virginia and New Jersey."

Steele was referring to two gubernatorial campaigns where the GOP has a real shot at electing a Republican to take over for a Democratic governor. As a governor -- or, by then, former governor -- herself, those campaigns would be the most natural choices for Palin's assistance. So far,  there's no real indication she will go to New Jersey, but the Washington Post's Anita Kumar believes Palin is set to stump for Republican Bob McDonnnell. "McDonnell's campaign has not heard from Palin's staff to set up a specific event, but it's been made pretty clear in recent days she plans to spend some time here this fall," Kumar reports.

For now, even if Palin does end up campaigning in either state, it's unclear exactly what the end game would be. Getting on the stump for her fellow Republicans would be a prerequisite if she wants to run for president in 2012, or later -- nothing better than having other politicians owe you favors. On the other hand, if Palin does want to get out of politics, as NBC's Andrea Mitchell has reported, doing some events this fall would be a good way to keep her name in the news, boosting book sales and speaker's fees.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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