Sarah Palin appears to be building a pack of “mama grizzlies” in the 2010 elections that could send a powerful political message if she decides to run for president in 2012.
In the past 10 days, Palin has thrown her endorsement behind former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina, who is running for the Republican Senate nomination in California; state Rep. Nikki Haley, a candidate for governor in South Carolina; and Susana Martinez, the Dona Ana County district attorney seeking the GOP nod in the New Mexico governor’s race.
“This year will be remembered as the year that common-sense conservative women get things done for our country,” the former Alaska governor said on Friday in a speech to the Susan B. Anthony List, a political group opposed to abortion. “The mama grizzlies, they rise up.”
All three of the races in which Palin endorsed feature a female candidate running against one or several men.
In California, Fiorina, who has put more than $3 million of her own money into the race, is trying to run down former Rep. Tom Campbell, R-California, before the state’s June 8 primary.
In South Carolina, Haley, the one-time protege of disgraced Governor Mark Sanford, faces three men Rep. Gresham Barrett, R-S.C., Lt Governor Andre Bauer and state Attorney General Henry McMaster in the Palmetto State’s June 8 primary.
And in New Mexico, Martinez is locked in a tough battle with free-spending former state party chairman Allen Weh.
(Palin is also casting other major issues through the female prism. In a Facebook note natch! last week, Palin protested the decision by an Illinois school superintendent to keep a high school girls basketball team from attending a tournament in Arizona because of the state’s new immigration law. “Let’s help the girls ‘go rogue’ and go play ball,” Palin wrote to her online supporters.)
Palin, by wading into this trio of primaries to back female candidates, seems to be casting the 2010 election as the year of the Republican woman she spoke of an “emerging conservative feminist identity” in her Susan B. Anthony List speech.
To date, Republicans have struggled to elevate female faces in their ranks.
Of the 17 women in the Senate, just four are Republicans; only 17 of the 76 women in the House are Republicans. There are three female Republican governors. (Worth noting: Palin would have been the fourth but resigned last summer, well before her term was up at the end of this year.)
In Exclusive Partnership with The Washington Post. For additional content from The Washington Post, visit www.washingtonpost.com