September 17th, 2010
07:59 AM ET
4 years ago

Palin returns to Iowa riding high

 Political watchers will closely watch Palin's address in Iowa.
Political watchers will closely watch Palin's address in Iowa.

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – Over a 1,000 Republicans have purchased tickets to witness Sarah Palin address the Iowa GOP's Reagan Dinner on Friday - an event rife with 2012 implications that comes at a heady moment for the former Alaska governor.

"We anticipate this will be the largest and best-attended Reagan Dinner in recent memory," Iowa GOP spokeswoman Danielle Plogmann told CNN.

Palin, undeniably the most prominent voice in her party and a commanding figure in the Tea Party movement, is riding high after two of her favored GOP candidates won their Senate primaries on Tuesday, including the longshot insurgent candidate Christine O'Donnell in Delaware.

Of the 36 Republican primaries she waded into this election cycle, 25 of her chosen candidates have won - including Iowa gubernatorial hopeful Terry Branstad, an endorsement that irked some social conservatives who backed Branstad's rival. Eleven of her candidates have come up short.

Now that Palin is rounding out the week with an appearance in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, the political world will be scrutinizing how her larger-than-life persona is received among the voters who will play a crucial role in selecting the party's next presidential nominee.

Though she may drop some hints about her barely-concealed national ambitions and test drive a potential campaign message, the speech will almost certainly focus on the importance of electing Republicans to Congress, state legislatures and governor's mansions in November.

The event, officially billed as "A Salute To Freedom," is a fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party, which is gunning to re-capture the governor's mansion along with majorities in the state Senate and House. Tickets to the Reagan Dinner cost $100 per person, or $1,000 for a table seating ten.

Iowa GOP officials were eyeing Palin for the dinner as early as this spring, and landing the former Alaska governor is something of a coup, in part because Palin has until now largely resisted invitations to appear at state party events.

Like other big fundraising banquets in key nominating states, the Reagan Dinner's featured speaker is often the subject of presidential buzz. Past headliners at the dinner include Mitt Romney, who spoke in 2004, and Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson, who attended in 2007 as their White House campaigns were underway.

But the event has also hosted several leading Republicans who flirted with presidential bids but decided against running, such as former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and former New York Governor George Pataki.

Palin last visited Iowa in December of 2009, for a book signing as part of her national book tour for "Going Rogue: An American Life."


Filed under: 2010 • Iowa • Sarah Palin
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. Tea-bag Nihilist

    Oh, we just can't wait to hear what gems of wisdom Sarah-the-Cynic has to bestow upon her faithful. Oh, what shall we do, Sarah, to combat the evil liberal hoards who are even now plotting to steal our Liberty? And what about the communists? They're out there plotting too; they're ALL plotting against us!! Save us, Sister Sarah! (we've paid you in cash up front just like you said)

    September 17, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. Living in America

    Wow she has dumbed down America.

    September 17, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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