She may not be an official candidate at this point, but Sarah Palin will hit the airwaves in Iowa on Monday, and it’s not going to cost the former Alaska governor a dime.
Tea Party of America — a recently created group that is hosting a Palin-keynoted rally in the south-central Iowa town of Indianola on Sept. 3 — is launching a major radio blitz in the nation’s first voting state to promote the prospective GOP presidential contender’s attendance at the event.
Charlie Gruschow, a co-founder of the group who confirmed the ad buy to RealClearPolitics, said anyone interested in attending the rally will also be directed to a website where they can reserve free tickets and sign up to receive updates….
Speculation that Palin might use the Labor Day weekend event to declare her candidacy has ramped up on cable news and the conservative blogosphere, but RCP has learned from sources close Palin that an official announcement is unlikely at that time.
Still, Palin’s speech is expected to offer more clues about whether she will jump into the race sometime in September, as some of her public comments and behind-the-scenes actions over the past several months have suggested is possible. And a core group of self-appointed volunteer organizers hope that the Indianola shindig will be one of the best-attended events of the presidential campaign season to date.
“It’ll be big,” vowed veteran Iowa GOP grass-roots organizer Susan Geddes, who helped launch the Palin event….
Peter Singleton, a California attorney who leads the Iowa branch of the all-volunteer group Organize4Palin, told conservative radio host Tammy Bruce on Saturday that in addition to Palin’s speech, the three-hour midday rally would include a diverse undercard of speakers, music and video interludes, and even a group lesson on precinct organizing.
The event will pose a significant test for Singleton and the rest of the all-volunteer army of Palin devotees who have for months been quietly paving the way for a presidential run that would be fueled by a dedicated core of political novices.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the crowd that will descend on the site — which recently played host to the National Balloon Classic — will include a sizable contingent of out-of-staters. The Texas branch of Organize4palin, for example, is organizing a bus trip to make the more than 11-hour drive from Dallas to Indianola.
Until recently, Organize4Palin’s leaders have embraced their obscurity, but their desire to draw a huge crowd has trumped that reticence: The group has launched a slick new website redesign, and it has initiated a fundraising drive designed to bolster its efforts in all of the early voting states.
“Reaching those early primary states and then spreading that success across the nation will provide Gov. Palin with an organized and strong network of volunteers should she decide to run, as we believe she will,” the group wrote in an open letter that was posted on the pro-Palin website Conservatives4Palin.com….
Geddes, who was a field staffer for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 campaign in Iowa before going on to work for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s now defunct campaign this year, echoed other Iowa political observers in assessing the Palin volunteers’ dedication and quiet competence.
“They are very organized, and the team they have in place is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in this state before — and I’m totally impressed by the way they’ve gone about it,” she said. “It’s going to be a major upset if she gets in because I think these people are very underestimated.”
The mentality to run as an outsider is nothing new for Palin. She rose to prominence in Alaska by taking on the state’s Republican establishment and party machinery. That insurgent mantle fueled the 2006 gubernatorial campaign that resulted in her becoming Alaska’s youngest and first female governor and was what most attracted the attention of 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain.