Arizona-based political consultant Shane Wilkfors has a source who tells him that Sarah Palin is "ramping up very quickly" to launch a 2012 presidential campaign based out of The Valley of the Sun. Wilkfors says Arizona offers Gov. Palin certain advantages beyond the warm weather:
It also makes sense geographically for Palin to base a federal campaign out of Arizona. We are one of the fastest growing states and Arizona has major transportation hubs, modern infrastructure and a technologically savvy community. We’re in a region of the country that is highly accessible to and from other parts of the country making travel more of a convenience rather than a challenge to a national campaign.However, as Wilkfors points out, the political advantages of an Arizona-based Palin presidential campaign are likely what sealed the deal:
I also happen to believe that the Palin’s fell in love with Arizona during their multiple visits here over the last three years. Arizona is a great place to raise a family and be a part of a broader community. Ultimately, Americans move to places where they feel comfortable and I’m willing to bet the Palin’s feel very comfortable right here in Arizona.
Arizona will have 11 electoral votes up for grabs in 2012. That makes Arizona a high priority campaign state. Arizona is also guaranteed NOT to have a home state favorite running for President in 2012.In addition, argues Wilkfors, Arizona has proven campaign networks and organizations already in place and an ample talent pool of strategists and operatives to staff a nascent Palin campaign. He has no doubts that Gov. Palin would also be able to count on political endorsements from the Canyon State's congressional delegation, including Rep. Paul Gosar, grateful for her support for in the 2010 election.
I like to say that Arizona is also a crimson red Republican state with a independent maverick attitude. Arizonans are conservative but they have a discernible mistrust of government and especially the federal government. In 2010, Republicans swept all statewide seats and took super majorities in both the State House and Senate. That makes Arizona a comfortable spot for any conservative political leader and Sarah Palin fits that mold.
Palin also has a huge following here in Arizona among women, conservatives in general and a thriving Tea Party movement. Having spoken with many conservative grassroots activists over the last year, it’s obvious to me that she would have no problem building a hardcore base of support among the grassroots and party faithful. Many would be proud to adopt Palin as their own.
Finally, Wilkfors explains what he says could make an Arizona-based Palin campaign "a real game changer": During the 2008 Presidential Primary, Mitt Romney performed very well in Arizona's East Valley. With the GOP's 2008 vice presidential candidate running from home territory -- as recent as that new home may be -- Romney's team would not able to take The Canyon State for granted. Though he will be able to count on the Valley's LDS community for considerable support, Romney would have to defend against a serious challenge by Gov. Palin for the votes of Arizona's much larger numbers of conservatives.