No candidate, including Palin, has yet filed papers with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. Palin’s office declined an opportunity to explain her thinking on the 2010 race, and the Republican Governors Association said it would not comment on discussions it has had with the governor.

But a number of Democrats and Republicans in Alaska and Washington who spoke to POLITICO believe her silence is a sign she will not pursue a second term as governor so that she can play a larger role on the national political stage…

“[There is a] 50-50 chance she runs for governor,” said a former Palin staffer involved in state Republican politics, noting, “If Sarah Palin has proven anything in her career, it’s that she is full of surprises.”