Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and Republicans in the Election

According to The Hill (August 11, 2010), Republican Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia stated on a morning radio talk show that Sarah Palin’s endorsement efforts were hurting the party: “…what she is doing is dividing the party at a time we don’t need to be divided…” he said. Palin had supported Karen Handel in the gubernatorial primary runoff election over Nathan Deal, a long-term conservative Congressman who was supported by Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. Although Palin is not considered a leader of the Tea Party movement, she identifies with it closely.

Will Palin and the Tea Party Impact the November Election?

Although, according to a recent MSNBC report, Palin has endorsed more males than females, Karen Handel was defeated in a close runoff, despite being one of the “commonsense conservative” Mama Grizzlies. Palin uses her Facebook site to endorse candidates and remind voters to go to the polls. But notoriety does not always guarantee success, as the results in Georgia demonstrate.

John Nichols, writing in The Nation (July 21, 2010), comments that Palin has a “penchant for advancing the prospects of conservative women whose candidacies are changing the ‘good-old-boy’ face of the party, particularly in the South.” Nichols compares her strategy to Ronald Reagan in 1976 and 1980 in terms of “establishing a network of connections.” In 2012, winning the South will be crucial to anyone seeking the presidency.

But the divide-and-conquer endorsement strategy could backfire in November. In Nevada, for example, Sharron Angle won the GOP primary race. …