Beltway tongues are starting to wag that Sarah Palin is likely to opt out of a 2010 bid for re-election as Alaska's governor, in order to free herself for a presumed run on the national GOP ticket in 2012.
“There is nothing that she has done that leads me to believe she will seek reelection,” a prominent former GOP state legislator, Andrew Halcro, told Politico's Andy Barr. “If you’re Palin, once you’ve flown first class, you don’t go back to coach. She’s been to the show and certainly seemed to like it there,” he adds.
Politico also quotes a DC-based Democratic strategist who concludes, "We don't think she's running."
If Palin does bow out, it would free up her time to organize a broader campaign for national office. In so doing, she would appear to be following the course set by conservative GOP Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a frequently touted presidential hopeful.
According to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, no candidate, including Palin, has yet to file the paperwork to toss their hat in the political ring for the Alaska governorship.
Politico quotes a former Palin staff member who estimates there's a 50-50 chance Palin will shoot for another term as governor.
"If Sarah Palin has proven anything in her career, it's that she is full of surprises," the source says.
Palin has consistently deflected media inquiries into her future political plans.
Political pundits expect Palin will wait as long as possible – probably until next spring -- to announce her intentions.
Palin is considered popular in Alaska, but her opponents frequently slam her as more interested in national office than in running Alaska. Over a dozen ethics complaints have been lodged against her, and to date each has been dismissed as groundless.
The Anchorage Daily News is reporting that a fundraiser for Palin's legal defense fund netted $100,000 early this week – another sign of her enduring popularity with supporters.
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