Urbandale, Iowa (CNN) – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin greeted hundreds of her most diehard supporters in an Iowa restaurant on Friday evening, the night before she headlines a buzzed-about tea party rally on Saturday.
Enthusiastic Palinistas who trekked from places as far away as Dallas and San Diego for Saturday’s rally jammed into the Machine Shed, a popular restaurant in Urbandale, for a meet-up event organized by Conservatives4Palin, the online destination for all things Palin.
Many of them recognized each other from the Conservatives4Palin usernames or Twitter handles that were scribbled onto nametags slapped onto pro-Palin T-shirts.
Palin was met by a reporter from Radio Iowa as she and her husband Todd arrived at the event around dinnertime after driving out from Des Moines.
Asked to opine on the current field of GOP presidential hopefuls, Palin mischievously claimed that another candidate could still join the fray.
“Happy with the field of candidates,” Palin said. "I always think that there’s room for more, though, because spirited debate and more competition will allow an even better discourse and a more rigorous discourse that the public deserves.”
As she and her husband, Todd, entered the restaurant, they were mobbed by the crowd and showered with repeated chants of “Run, Sarah, Run!”
Dozens of admirers whipped out their smartphones and digital cameras to document the scene, while an editor back at Conservatives4Palin curated the flood of tweets and reporter dispatches coming out of the event.
Palin worked the space for nearly an hour, posing for pictures and signing autographs. She did not address the crowd, but California attorney Peter Singleton, the self-appointed Palin political guru in Iowa, rallied the troops.
“There is no one who has the political courage and vision of this woman,” he said. “If she runs I believe she will win the nomination and I will believe she will win the general election.”
The Palins and their staff left soon after and returned to their Des Moines hotel.