Virginia, New Jersey gubernatorial candidates decline Palin's offer to campaign for them

Conservatives 4 Palin blames Ed Gillespie, who’s soft on Mitt and hard on Palin, for turning Virginia candidate Bob McDonnell against her when he took over the campaign. But is this really so hard to understand that it requires an ulterior motive to explain it?

Given her loyal following among many in the party’s grass roots, it’s Palin who could surely draw the largest crowd and perhaps raise the most money for the two candidates — her book, “Going Rogue,” is already the No. 1 best-seller on Amazon, more than a month before it’s even released.

“The governor offered her assistance with both races,” said Palin adviser Meg Stapleton. “The ball is in their court.”…

“With 26 days left until the election, we do not anticipate Gov. Palin campaigning in Virginia at this point,” said McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin. “She has donated to our campaign, and we appreciate her support of Bob McDonnell, and her historic run as the Republican nominee for vice president.”…

Privately, Republicans aides in Virginia and New Jersey fret that a Palin appearance with their candidates could offend swing voters who are turned off by the polarizing Alaskan.

“A prominent rally with Palin could easily send the independents to the Democratic candidates, and at the same time, she could motivate the Democratic Party base to turn out at a higher rate,” explained University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato…

Added a Republican strategist who follows state politics: “She would be great in Southern primaries or straw polls, but a death knell in Northern Virginia among smart women.”

Romney, Huckabee, Jindal, and Pawlenty have all been to Virginia on McDonnell’s behalf. Proof of a Gillespie vendetta against Palin? Or just basic no-brainer politics in not wanting to “benefit” from a cameo by someone whose favorable rating among independents is 33/59? McDonnell’s sitting on a nine-point lead in a state that broke for Obama last year by six points; why on earth would he risk the upheaval of a Palin appearance, particularly when the Democrats have been trying to caricature him as the same sort of rabid social con that the media caricatured her as?

The hard fact of the matter is that Sarahcuda’s only a clear asset on the trail in a red district where the base isn’t turning out. That’s why she was a good bet in Saxby Chambliss’s run-off in Georgia last year: The GOP knew it had the votes to win the election, they just needed to give dispirited grassroots conservatives a reason to go out and vote. Enter Palin. In purplish states like Virginia (and blue states like New Jersey, needless to say), having her out there becomes a crapshoot because it risks goosing turnout among liberals more than conservatives. In fact, assuming that conservatives stay motivated to send The One a message next year in the midterms, demand for her will probably be low since turnout will be high even without her help. What am I missing here?

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