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February 1, 2015

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Sarah Palin delivers message to Republicans: ‘Man up’


AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Sarah Palin signs her autograph for supporters after a rally to kick off the Tea Party Express bus tour Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, in Reno. The tour will make 29 stops crossing 20 states until it ends in Concord, N.H. on Nov. 1.

Sarah Palin in Reno

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks to the crowd during the kickoff of the nationwide Tea Party Express bus tour in Reno on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Midway through her speech at a Tea Party Express rally here Monday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said her goal, and that of the conservative group hosting the event, is not to see Republicans in general win this crucial midterm election. No, she is backing a specific brand of conservative.

“These are constitutional conservatives,” she said, running through a list of her approved candidates for Congress nationwide before the crowd in the parking lot of a vacant shopping mall. The list included Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle.

“Politicians, some of you who are in office today, need to man up and spend some political capital supporting these Tea Party candidates,” she said.

Palin and her enthusiastic supporters present a particular challenge to Republican candidates in Nevada — be seen alongside them and risk alienating independent voters who may see the Tea Party as a circus act; don’t and risk being branded as unworthy of the conservative stamp.

That conundrum might explain why many Republican candidates were noticeably absent from the rally stage.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval was touring a Reno high school as the Tea Party Express rallied across town.

“We’re focused on visiting schools, visiting nonprofits,” he told a reporter who asked why he wasn’t at the rally.

He wasn’t willing to be drawn into a debate over the Tea Party’s primary message — that government’s role in individuals’ lives should be significantly curtailed. “That’s a broad question. I’m just focused on my race,” he said.

Sandoval hasn’t spent the entire campaign dodging such rallies. He attended the largest, most publicized one in Searchlight this spring.

Still, Sandoval’s name didn’t make the list of gubernatorial candidates Palin implored the Reno crowd to support because of their conservative bona fides.

To the surprise of some, Angle, who has cultivated the Tea Party vote since the earliest days of her primary campaign, did not share the stage with Palin, one of the most popular figures in the conservative movement. In fact, Angle hasn’t headlined a Tea Party Express rally since the group endorsed her in April and began spending more than $1 million in the form of an independent expenditure to see her elected.

But the reason was likely more legal than political: Strict federal laws prohibit candidates from coordinating political speech with organizations operating independent expenditures, and Angle’s campaign didn’t want to be accused of coordination.

But Angle wasn’t the only GOP candidate not to show.

Even some of the Republicans in attendance didn’t appear to want to make a high-profile appearance. One longtime Northern Nevada Republican activist wore a bulky coat and baseball cap pulled low on her forehead.

“I’m just here to help the party out,” she said, tugging her hat a little lower.

The voters at the Reno rally shared a deep skepticism of politicians, even those who appear to carry the conservative standard.

Even Angle, who has been among the most philosophically pure conservatives in Nevada politics, didn’t earn unconditional support.

“We’re going to give her a try,” said Michelle Schneider, a Reno Republican. “I’m not completely sold on any of them.”

Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who doesn’t have a competitive race in his heavily Republican 2nd Congressional District, was the only Republican candidate to jump onstage at the Reno rally. He didn’t speak and simply waved to the crowd.

Heller’s spokesman Stewart Bybee said he couldn’t speak for why some Republican candidates didn’t show for the event. But he said Heller has long enjoyed a strong relationship with Tea Party activists.

“Fundamentally the Tea Party’s goals are about government intrusion in everyday lives,” he said. “That is where the congressman and the Tea Party share a common value.”

Some said it’s not necessarily the Tea Party brand that Republican candidates are worried about associating themselves with. It’s their strategy to avoid any situations they don’t completely control during the final days of the campaign.

“There’s enough risk when coming down the final stretch of campaign even with their own events,” Republican strategist Robert Uithoven said. “When you start attending events of other groups that could cause even more problems — especially when you can turn an ad around in 24 hours or less. Those images could cause a distraction for a campaign.”

Sun reporter David McGrath Schwartz contributed to this story.

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  1. What we'd get from Angle so far;

    Creme DeMint.
    Moose Juice.

    Oh, yeah.
    We should be falling all over ourselves to vote for
    such political power...

  2. Harry Reid can call the President of the United States, (or any other world leader), can call on support from leaders in Industry, Corporate CEOs, movers & shakers from all manner of endeavours that can help Nevada;
    Sharron Angle can call DeMint & Palin, who will reluctantly pick up the phone, out of obligation...

  3. The Tea Party Movement poses a threat to the Washington, DC establishment, which is why liberals bad-mouth the movement. But, the movement is compiled of grass-roots citizens who are concerned about the future of America. Sarah Palin is being attacked because she represents the values of the Tea Party. This is understandable because that's what liberals do---what they can't compete with or control, they seek to destroy.

  4. johns76222,

    The Sun posted the same news last night, on the effort to suppress the Hispanic vote. The story was coupled with an analysis of the effectiveness of race-baiting ads.

  5. Regardless who is "paid" to stump for Angle, they cannot change Angle's image of being Nevada's "Aunt Clara."

  6. Sure doesn't take long to get the Palin sycophants riled up. Just the mention of her name causes them to froth at the mouth and paw the ground.

    What is it that the Palin sycophants are so worried about?

    Ms. Half-Term, Couldn't-Hack-It is telling Reid to man up? That's golden.

  7. "Could Palin beat Obama in 2012?"



    Karl Rove credits the tea party with bringing new energy to the right but says that when you take a look at the grass-roots movement, it is "not sophisticated."

    Read more:

    Mr. Rove is basically saying, we are not going to win this election cycle and the tea party is the reason why.

    You see that 'Tea Party Express Bus', he just pushed Ms. Palin and the whole tea party under the bus as it travel across the country. Another time he has shown his disdain for the tea party was the night Christen O'Donnell won the GOP primary, he could not control himself in the remarks he made afterward.

  9. Sharon Osbourne's description of Palin was quite accurate -- "ignorant cow."