(CNN) - Alaska Democrats sharply criticized Gov. Sarah Palin Friday for rejecting nearly half of the federal stimulus money allotted to her state, suggesting the former vice presidential candidate is putting national ambitions ahead of Alaska's interest.
"It’s outrageous that Palin wants to turn down Alaskans’ fair share of federal stimulus money for education, public safety, unemployment services and health programs," said State Democratic Party Chair Patti Higgins. "It’s very clear that Palin is sacrificing the needs of Alaskans for her national political ambitions.”
Bob Poe, a Democratic candidate for governor of Alaska, called Palin's move downright "narcissistic" in a conference call with reporters, and said it's clear she is making decisions with an eye toward a future presidential campaign. Palin faces reelection in 2010.
"She is clearly aligning herself with the other very conservative governors who have also rejected the money," Poe said.
Poe also suggested Palin is playing an "obvious game," given the state legislature is permitted to overrule her decision to reject the money and is likely to do so.
The comments come one day after Palin announced she was rejecting more than $400 million of the federal funds, saying they came with too many strings attached that threaten to dig the state in a “deeper hole.”
The move follows that of other conservative governors, including South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Both Sanford and Jindal are often considered to be future presidential candidates, and neither has ruled out a White House run.
Other Republicans who have rejected some of the stimulus funds include Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
In a statement released Friday, Palin said she is open to accepting more of the federal funds, especially the $170 million she is currently rejecting that is allotted to education.
“We’ve increased education funding in Alaska at historical levels during my administration because it is our priority. We want to make sure any new dollars complement what we’ve already grown," she said.