GOP Gov Candidates Shun Palin as Polarizing

She's too much herself to do anything but harm in NJ, Virginia
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2009 9:56 AM CDT
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Tough-fought GOP gubernatorial campaigns in New Jersey and Virginia have politely declined Sarah Palin’s offer of help. The political calculus is simple in New Jersey, where President Obama won by 15 points last November. The campaign is “not about the 2012 presidential race,” a Chris Christie adviser tells Politico. In fact, when Michael Steele visited in June and suggested a Palin appearance, Christie immediately and publicly said “I don't think that's something that should be necessary.”

The picture in Virginia, where Palin drew thousands during the presidential campaign, is more complicated, though watchers come to the same conclusion. Liberal voters in the north, combined with Bob McDonnell’s desire to distance himself from a socially conservative past, make it a no go. Palin would be “a death knell in Northern Virginia among smart women,” a GOP strategist says. Not to mention distracting. “If Mitt Romney shows up in Virginia Beach, the Virginian-Pilot is covering that,” another strategist says. “If Sarah Palin shows up there, the damn New York Times is covering it.”