Sarah Palin endorsed 60 candidates this year, but when dust settled Wednesday morning, the biggest beneficiary of the “Sarah Palin effect” was not necessarily the candidates themselves, but the Palin brand.In the realm of non-Politico math where the rest of us live, Governor Palin endorsed 82 candidates (NOTE: these numbers are taken from the candidate list at sister site, Organize4Palin. There are a few candidates whom SarahPAC gave money to or Governor Palin recorded robocalls for that are not listed) in the general election with at least 52 of those candidates winning (as of Wednesday night, 8 races had not yet been called). In a photo caption, Politico also claims that Governor Palin endorsed 34 House candidates with only 15 of these winning. Governor Palin actually endorsed 57 candidates for the House with at least 36 of these candidates winning their respective Congressional seats. In actuality, Palin endorsed Congressional candidates won more seats than Politico claims she endorsed. As usual, facts are irrelevant to the folks at Politico.
Of the 34 candidates Palin endorsed for the House, only 15 won, a less-than-stellar average for someone vying to be the difference-maker in Republican politics.
One of Governor Palin's goals with her endorsements was to help conservative candidates win seats back from 20 Democrats who voted for Obamacare and represented districts that she and Senator McCain carried in 2008. Thus, she launched the Take Back the 20 initiative. Eighteen of these candidates have won their races, with one race left to be decided. The people of these districts spoke with their vote against the government takeover of health care. So while these 18 representatives didn't hear their constituents in March, they certainly heard them loud and clear in November.
Palin endorsed candidates also had success in blue states like New York and Illinois. In New York, Michael Grimm won the Empire state's 13th Congressional District, defeating an incumbent Democrat. Governor Palin endorsed two House candidates in Illinois, Adam Kinzinger and Randy Hultgren, who were both running against incumbent Democrats. Both of these candidates won their respective races, contributing to a red wave through the Prairie state which included four seat flipping to Republicans, and Illinois House Republicans now have an 11 to 8 seat edge. In Kinzinger's win, he gave a Palinesque victory speech:
Several others House victories for Palin endorsees had unique significances as well. Governor Palin endorsed Sean Duffy to represent Wisconsin's 7th District, a seat occupied by "stimulus" bill author, David Obey. Shortly following Palin's endorsement of Duffy, Obey declared he would retire from Congress following this term. Duffy later went on to defeat his Democratic challenger. Conservative favorites Michele Bachmann and Allen West also won their respective races. Bachmann's race against her challenger drew a lot funding from the DNC and DCCC that could have been used elsewhere, yet despite the smears and massive funding from Democrats, Bachmann won her race by more than 12 points. Allen West, the army veteran whose ability to give a rousing speech is rivaled only by Governor Palin herself, won his race over his Democratic opponent. In fact, every Palin endorsed candidate in Florida, whether for the House, Senate, or statewide races, won their respective races. The same is true for the bellweather state of Ohio. Tim Scott, Congressional candidate in South Carolina became the first African American Republican to represent South Carolina in Congress. Additionally, Dr. Benishek won his race to replace retiring Michigan Congressman, Bart Stupak, whose capitulation on abortion funding ultimately led to the passage of Obamacare. These are just a sampling of the three dozen winning House candidates whom Governor Palin endorsed. Her influence on House races lies both in the quantity and quality of the candidates she supported.
The Politico piece also attempts to relegate Governor Palin to the role of Republican cheerleader:
Late Tuesday evening, Palin took to Twitter — where she has found a quick and easy way this cycle to wield her influence 140 characters at a time — to praise her victorious candidates.While Politico may state that Governor Palin is a "cheerleader for the conservative cause", she actually is the point guard of the conservative cause. While others choose only to endorse when it is politically expedient or when an electoral victory is evident, Governor Palin was and is willing to lead and support candidates on principle and is willing to take political risks in her endorsements. Beyond the 2010 elections, Governor Palin has led on the issues as the strongest voice against the Obama administration's policies on health care, cap and tax, and the Bush tax cuts. She has been the one voice who has been willing to speak out against the Obama administration's handling of the war in Afghanistan, nuclear discussions with Russia, and the Gulf oil spill. Yes, her support of conservative candidates helps bring them to victory, but her leadership and action are what truly have bolstered the conservative cause.
“As always, proud to be American! Thanks, Commonsense Constitutional Conservatives,u didn't sit down & shut up...u ‘refudiated’ extreme left,” she wrote.
The note was emblematic of her presence in the elections: part cheerleader for the conservative cause, part affirming voice for the candidates who have followed in her footsteps.
Crossposted here and here.