Sarah Palin's political comeback is anything but a sure thing in her home state. Palin recently filed her candidacy for Alaska's sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, which was held by Rep. Don Young for 49 years until his death last month.
While many around the United States consider the former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor to be a culture warrior -- she has former President Donald Trump's "complete and total endorsement" -- many of those whose vote she needs think that she's out of touch with Alaskans.
Alaskan retiree and Vietnam veteran Ron Johnson, who spoke with Alaska Public Media, lives about 25 miles from Palin's hometown of Wasilla, the heartland of Alaska conservatism. He voted for Palin for governor and is a solid Trump supporter, but that doesn't mean he wants Palin to win.
"I think she's out of touch with Alaskans right now," he said. "She's moved into a different circle. She was a vice presidential candidate. Yeah, I don't think that the people here — we don't take her very seriously."
Some local conservatives say that Palin seriously damaged her political brand with some of her post-national office run TV gigs, like the time in 2020 when she appeared on the show "The Masked Singer" and rapped "Baby Got Back" while wearing a pink and blue bear suit.
"That (national) attention ... to me it's just made her more of an embarrassment to Alaskans than someone to respect and support," said Karina Wentworth, a stay-at-home mom and marketing manager who lives in Wasilla.
Just like Johnson, Wentworth's politics are proudly displayed alongside her driveway. A small banner proclaims her household is "Pro-life, Pro-God, Pro-gun, Pro-Trump." "Even though Trump has endorsed Palin's candidacy," Alaska Public Media, writes, "even though her kids go to middle school with Sarah Palin's son, Wentworth is just not that into Palin." 'Her focus has become more centered on herself and less on Alaska,' Wentworth said. 'So yeah, I would like to see a candidate that is more Alaska-focused.'"
Palin is one of 48 candidates seeking to serve the remainder of the late congressman's term. Many of them, including Palin, are also running for the next full term, which starts in January. She is widely expected to survive the primary. Alaska's voting system sends the top four vote-getters into the general election.
Alaska Public Media reports that shoppers at a store in Wasilla have a broad range of views about their former governor, "from adoration to indifference.
"I don't think many people up here have a very high standing of her," said Jennefer DelaVega, a libertarian.
"In a survey about three years after Palin resigned from the governor's office, Anchorage pollster Ivan Moore said, more than half of Alaskans had a negative view of her.
"'We asked them why, and 'quit,' 'quitter' — all the way down, every other comment was 'quit' or 'quitter,'" Moore said."