Via SarahNet, something newsy from today’s Hannity radio show. The key bit comes from 9:34 to 11:19, or, if you prefer, NewsBusters has a partial transcript. My sense after listening to this is that she’s giving an answer similar to the one Allen West gave when he was asked recently if he’d primary Rubio in 2016. If you’re a young former officeholder with a base of loyal supporters, you have no incentive to rule out running for something when someone asks if you might, whatever your true feelings about it are. The prospect of West or Palin or anyone else jumping back in to restart their political career by challenging an incumbent adds extra media weight to their thoughts of the day. They have every reason to keep hope alive, even if they’re reluctant to the point of (almost) ruling it out. E.g., at one point here she refers to running for Senate as something one might have to do to help the cause “even if perhaps it’s something that doesn’t look necessarily appealing.” Much depends, she says, on the line-up, whether Begich gets a young, fresh, conservative challenger rather than “the same old politicians in the state that come from political families,” which is her way of needling her old enemy Lisa Murkowski. Joe Miller has already said he’s running again, and since Palin endorsed him in 2010, I assume that means she thinks her brand of conservatism is already adequately represented in the race.
Begich isn’t a terribly weak incumbent, either, by the standards of blue senators from red states. Alaska polls are always dodgy but left-leaning PPP had him at 49/39 in February and then 41/37 in April after his “no” vote on the Toomey/Manchin background-checks bill. Even if that’s accurate (Alaskans feeling grumbly over a vote in support of gun rights?), the public will forgive and forget in time. And needless to say, none of his Republican opponents will be running to his left on guns. If he starts to float back upward towards 50 percent approval, the combo of incumbency and national Democratic money to help save a saveable seat in an otherwise unfavorable election climate will make him tough to beat by anyone.