When Sarah Palin campaigned in Texas the Friday before Ted Cruz’s victory last Tuesday, her appearance swung the polls by 17 points in one night. Professionals said they had never seen anyone -- a politician, celebrity, or athlete -- have that much of an impact. Cruz won his victory because the Tea Party came out to support him, and these numbers showed nobody motivates Tea Party voters like Palin does.
Friday in Missouri, Palin appeared with Missouri Senate candidate Sarah Steelman at a picnic, hoping her appearance would swing the polls similarly for Steelman, who is in a three-way fight to get the Republican Senate nomination. The primary is Tuesday. The winner takes on vulnerable Democrat Claire McCaskill, who is distancing herself from President Barack Obama and her party in an effort to salvage her numbers at home. Missouri is one of the Senate seats Republicans must win to get control of the Senate.
Steelman, the former state treasurer who has often clashed with her state’s GOP establishment, is trailing John Brunner, who, like David Dewhurst in Texas, has spent nearly $10 million of his own money on the race. Steelman is within the margin of error. Rep. Todd Akin is the third candidate.
Palin, wearing a Steelman campaign t-shirt that had a “Superman” symbol on the front of it, told a crowd of over 1000 people who gathered at a blueberry farm on very short notice, that Steelman “has the backbone to stand up for what it is right and to stand up to the powers that be even” if in they in her own party and that is why the Washington establishment is scared of her.
Palin said Steelman represents “results over rhetoric, convictions over consultants, and Missouri over Washington.”
Palin said other candidates in the race were vague about their intentions while Steelman has laid out detailed plans about programs she wanted to cut and get rid of once she gets to the Senate and has a proven record of fiscal conservatism and supporting pro-life causes.
Palin said to look carefully at a candidate’s record and not just their rhetoric because the vote “is a sacred trust” and warned Missouri voters of candidates who have armies of D.C. consultants who “infiltrate Missouri” and “ply” them into something of their liking.
Steelman has campaigned on the theme of “the status quo has got to go,” and that is what seems to have attracted Palin -- and her supporters -- to her.
In concluding her remarks, Palin joked that she and Steelman would not be serving attendees Chick-fil-A, but she would stop by for a midnight snack and said Chick-fil-A should be a part of every campaign (Cruz’s campaign served Chick-fil-A at their victory party on Tuesday).
After the event, according to members of American Grizzlies United, a pro-Palin volunteer group, Palin and Steelman “jumped behind tables to serve folks BBQ,” and “Palin donned an apron and shook nearly every hand and served every plate that passed by her.”
Volunteers noted how Palin and her husband Todd stayed until the very end and thanked the security detail and volunteers who worked the event.
Ryan Collmeyer, from St. Louis, MO, travelled to the event and told Breitbart News that though he had met Steelman briefly before, this was the first time he was able to have a long conversation with her. Collmeyer said he has also met Brunner and Steelman was “more personable” and Steelman’s staff “is not full of the typical, old consultants.”
“They're young and varied in gender and race,” Collmeyer said, referring to Steelman’s staff and sensed that Palin’s endorsement has given the Steelman camp “a huge shot in the arm and boost of momentum going into Tuesday."
Brian Lerch, who also attended the event, told Breitbart News that he thought Steelman “had a quiet toughness to her that's going to serve her well as a Senator” and was also impressed by Steelman’s staff, who he described as “youthful and enthusiastic” who are “helping because they truly believe in Steelman and her values.
“I think Palin's attendance was important because I don't think there's a figure out there on the national scene who can bring out such a huge crowd for a candidate on such a short notice,” Lerch said.
Steve Flesher, one of the editors of the pro-Palin site, Conservatives4Palin, attended the event and live-streamed the event on the Conservatives4Palin website. He told Breitbart News that Steelman was a grassroots candidate like Palin.
“Palin is the ultimate grassroots kingmaker and the GOP Establishment is not happy about it,” Flesher told Breitbart News. “I can't wait to see what happens when the likes of Ted Cruz and hopefully Sarah Steelman get to work in Congress.
Influential conservatives like Sen. Jim DeMint have said nobody can match Palin's influence in a GOP primary. In this cycle, Palin has endorsed Indiana's Richard Mourdock, Nebraska's Deb Fischer, Utah's Orrin Hatch, and Texas's Cruz. To date, Palin is the only person or organization on the right with an undefeated record in these influential Senate primaries.
photo credit: PolitiMo