Palin steps down as Alaska governor


Republican VP candidate won’t complete 1st term

By Art Moore

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announcing her resignation today (Screen grab from KTUU-TV, Anchorage, video)

Surprising friends and foes alike, Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin, her party’s vice presidential candidate last year, announced today she will not finish her first term as governor.

Republican Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will take the oath of office July 26.

Palin, regarded as a potential front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, made the announcement from the backyard of her home on the shore of Lake Lucille in Wasilla, about 35 miles north of Anchorage.

The governor, her family at her side, emphasized she has been the target of 15 ethics complaints by political opponents – all dismissed – at a cost of $2 million to the state and more than $500,000 to her family.

“And the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn’t cost them a dime, so they’re not going to stop draining public resources – spending other people’s money in their game,” she said.

“It’s pretty insane – my staff and I spend most of our day dealing with this instead of progressing our state now.”

Palin anticipated her decision would be questioned.

“I’m determined to take the right path for Alaska, even though it is unconventional, and it’s not so comfortable,” she said.

Palin, 45, made no announcement of her specific plans, but Politico reported she asked supporters after the news conference via the social-networking site Twitter to “stay tuned.”

“We’ll soon attach info on this decision to not seek re-election,” she wrote.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul last September (WND photo)

Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton said the governor didn’t make the move to position herself for a 2012 presidential run.

“She is not focused on 2012 – she is focused on making a difference on the topics she finds so dear: energy independence [and] national security,” Stapleton said, according to the Washington Post.

Palin said she made the decision after “prayer and consideration” and a poll of family members, who unanimously concluded she should step down.

Palin indicated ridicule directed at her family weighed in her decision. Last month, CBS “Late Show” host David Letterman joked about one of her daughters being “knocked up” by New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez during the governor’s visit to New York. Palin said in her resignation announcement today that her 14-month-old son, Trig, who has Down syndrome, had been “mocked and ridiculed by some mean-spirited adults recently.”

A blistering piece on Palin in the current Vanity Fair magazine resurrected alleged tensions within the McCain campaign, asserting some top aides of the Arizona senator worried about Palin’s “mental state” and suggested the governor might have been suffering from post-partum depression following the birth of Trig.

Palin said some observers believe things changed for her when Sen. John McCain tapped her to be his running mate Aug. 29, but “I say others changed.”

She pointed out political operatives immediately “descended on Alaska, digging for dirt.”

“The ethics law I championed became their weapon of choice. Over the past nine months I’ve been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations – such as holding a fish in a photograph, wearing a jacket with a logo on it and answering reporters’ questions.”

She described a “new political environment in which millions of dollars were going down the drain.”

She said she couldn’t let that happen just to remain as governor.

“We know we can affect positive change outside government at this point in time on another scale and actually make a difference for our priorities,” she said.

John McCain, Sarah Palin, Todd Palin with son, Trig, after the Arizona senator’s acceptance speech last September (WND photo)

Palin, who defeated incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski in the 2006 Republican primary and a former two-term Democratic governor in the general election, said she didn’t want to be a “lame duck” politician.

She explained that she previously had decided not to run for a second term and subsequently determined Alaska would be served best by turning over the governership to Parnell.

“Many just accept that lame duck status and they hit the road,” she said. “They draw a paycheck and they kind of milk it. I’m not going to put Alaskans through that. I promised efficiencies and effectiveness.”

Her brother, Chuck Heath Jr., told Fox News after the announcement she was spending up to 80 percent of her time defending herself from the complaints.

“There was no way she could effectively govern when so much of her time was being spent defending herself,” Heath said.

“It’s not fair to the state, and it’s not fair to her family, and it finally got to the point where she needed to do something.”

Heath said, however, his sister’s announcement today came as a surprise to him.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announcing her resignation today (Screen grab from KTUU-TV, Anchorage, video)

Fox News analyst and Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol called Palin’s decision a “huge gamble.”

“But some of those gambles have paid off for her in the past,” he said, adding the announcement may turn out to be the first salvo in the 2012 Republican presidential campaign.

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said in a written statement that either Palin is “leaving the people of Alaska high and dry to pursue her long-shot national political ambitions or she simply can’t handle the job now that her popularity has dimmed and oil revenues are down.”

“Either way – her decision to abandon her post and the people of Alaska who elected her continues a pattern of bizarre behavior that more than anything else may explain the decision she made today,” Woodhouse said.

Palin burst unexpectedly into the national scene last August when McCain chose her as his presidential running mate.

Her nomination immediately charged up a Republican base that showed little passion for McCain, leading to an enthusiastically received acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul amid doubts by some in the party establishment who questioned whether she was qualified.

Palin’s path to the Alaska governorship began as a member of the Wasilla City Council. She served for two terms before election as mayor in 1996. Later, she was elected president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors.

She made an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor in 2002. One year later, Murkowski appointed her ethics commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. But she resigned in protest in 2004, charging fellow Republicans with a “lack of ethics” for legal violations and conflicts of interest.

In November 2006, with little support from her party, she was elected governor, becoming Alaska’s first to be born after it achieved statehood.

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3 comments on “Palin steps down as Alaska governor

  1. Pingback: Posts about Politico as of July 4, 2009 » The Daily Parr

  2. Pingback: Palin steps down as Alaska governor | Politics and Government News

  3. Pingback: Couple Charged with Molesting Wife’s Younger Sister For Years …

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