According to strategists for six GOP presidential campaigns, it would be a shrewd move for Sarah Palin to fully compete in Iowa's first-in-the-nation nominating caucuses if she runs for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, writes Thomas Beaumont in the Des Moines Register:
The state's Republican base fits her conservative profile, they say, and the base is ripe for the energy she attracts. The base already is motivated by Terry Branstad's election as governor and the defeat of three Iowa Supreme Court justices this month.In addition to today's stop in West Des Moines, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate is scheduled to return to Iowa Thursday to promote her new book at the Walmart in Spirit Lake. Other than her two Iowa book tour stops, Gov. Palin has no announced plans for other appearances or meetings with state party officials.
Palin has a ready-made following in Iowa, as shown by the crowds she drew campaigning as the 2008 vice presidential nominee and headlining a state GOP fundraiser this fall. Hundreds are expected today for her 6 p.m. book-signing at Borders Books in West Des Moines.
Palin has said in recent interviews that she is weighing a 2012 campaign. If she runs, she would be expected early next year to begin the painstaking work of assembling an Iowa organization.
To do that, she would need to commit to the demands of an Iowa campaign, including regular access to activists and the news media, said advisers to the six campaigns, which took varying approaches to Iowa. The schedule for her visit today includes no political events or meetings with party activists.
The Iowa caucuses are a series of precinct-level meetings of party activists. They developed as a testing ground for candidates by giving little-known hopefuls, from Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1976 to Republican Mike Huckabee in 2008, a way to establish their footing. More recently, they also have become a lever to force celebrity candidates to organize at the grassroots.