With today’s runoff in Georgia, Saxby Chambliss will most likely get re-elected to the United States Senate. He will, in part, have Sarah Palin to thank.
At a time when Republican Governors across the nation are trying to smear Palin in anticipation of 2012, she is proving that, contrary to media reports, she is the current bright star of the GOP.
It is no wonder then, that as she tours Georgia today, the Politico is running another hit job on Palin. This time it is the voters in the center who do not like Palin. Never mind that they really do not know her beyond the media generated caricature.
The narrative probably will change based on what is happening in Georgia.
Over the course of the runoff, Saxby Chambliss has brought in Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain. Each drew a good crowd, generally in the Atlanta area. There were not events throughout the state with these men.
Sunday, Sarah Palin came to Georgia. Sunday night, the Chambliss campaign held a fundraiser with Palin as the star guest. On Monday, she toured the state. Augusta, Savannah, Perry, and Atlanta — covering all the major metropolitan areas of the state other than Columbus — turned out for Palin. And turnout was huge.
Palin, in fact, still draws rock star crowds of thousands of Republicans eager to hear the one candidate they’ve connected with this year. In Augusta, on a post-holiday Monday morning at 8:30 a.m., the crowd was several thousand people. She can energize and excite Republican voters in a way John McCain never could.
Palin is also willing to take a risk Barack Obama is too cowardly to take. In 1992, Paul Coverdell bested Wyche Fowler, Jr. in a Senate runoff with eery echos of 2008. Held under fifty percent by a Libertarian candidate, Fowler and Coverdell went into the runoff with President-elect Bill Clinton, who had won Georgia, stumping for Fowler. After Fowler lost, the national media trumpeted the loss as Clinton’s first major post-election defeat.
Barack Obama will not campaign for Jim Martin in person. He has targeted a few radio ads on urban and African-American radio stations. He has also done targeted automated phone calls to Democrat voters. But he will not show his face in Georgia for Martin. Palin, on the other hand, is criss-crossing the state raising money and turning out the vote for Saxby. She is, no doubt, mindful that the media will trumpet a Chambliss loss as another defeat for Palin. The headlines are predictable: “Palin Causes Chambliss to Lose Georgia”.
Of course, polling shows that will most likely not happen. The media will respond by ignoring the Palin factor. Republicans, however, should pay attention to it. For the entire month, the Chambliss campaign has gotten the same question: “Is Sarah Palin coming?” No one has cared about Huckabee, Romney, Giuliani, or McCain. Palin is all anyone wanted.
On Monday she drew massive crowds for Saxby. Today, those excited masses are going to vote for Chambliss, largely because Sarah Palin asked them to.