Sarah Palin Steps Down as Alaska Governor, New Poll Has Huckabee Leading GOP

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 24, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Sarah Palin Steps Down as Alaska Governor, New Poll Has Huckabee Leading GOP

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 24
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Sarah Palin stepped down late Sunday as the governor of Alaska , saying her reasons for doing so "should be obvious." Palin decided against serving the remainder of her term in office in part because political opponents kept dogging her about leaving the state to keep her name in the national limelight.

Palin, who earned strong support from the pro-life community as John McCain’s running mate against pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama, is seen as a potential contender herself in 2012.

However, her serving as the governor of state that is not a part of the continental United States made it hard for her to be involved in the political process in the same way as other potential Republicans seeking to challenge Obama next election.

Palin went out with a bang in delivering a fiery and candid 15-minute farewell speech to a crowd of supporters in Fairbanks, Alaska.

There, she lambasted the mainstream media that continually harped on her and dragged her family through the mud during the campaign and afterwards.

At times, it sounded as if the former vice presidential candidate was back on the campaign trail, stumping for the themes she pressed during the campaign.

She said she wanted to spare Alaskans "politics as usual" from her governorship turning into a "lame duck session," with a year-and-a-half to go.

"Come Monday, I’m going to be finding new avenues to keep working hard for Alaskans," she said.

Part of her new avenue will be the ability to speak her mind on a range of issues, including her steadfast opposition to abortion. She previewed that on her Twitter account, saying, "ten days till less politically correct twitters fly from my fingertips."

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the head of the pro-life women’s group Susan B. Anthony List, had nothing but kind words for Palin.

“Sarah Palin has always been an intensely independent woman– always true to her faith, her family and call to public service. She has provided women with a new political role model, offering a positive example of grace and poise as she deflected the barrage of baseless personal attacks on her family,” she told

“Her entrance onto the public stage has attracted massive numbers of Americans new to the political process. We have every confidence she will have an equal and profound impact in whatever projects she undertakes as a private citizen," she said.

As Palin steps down as the Alaska governor, a new poll shows former Arkansas governor stepping up as the potential GOP presidential candidate Republicans support most.

Released last week, a Washington Post poll finds Huckabee with the support of 26 percent of Republicans followed by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with 21 percent.

Palin polled 19 percent while former House speaker Newt Gingrich received 10 percent.

Several other potential presidential hopefuls, including Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour, and Bobby Jindal, each received below 5 percent.

A Rasmussen poll from earlier this month had Romney leading with the backing of 25 percent of GOP voters. Palin had 24 percent and Huckabee 22 percent.

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