Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will return to Iowa in January for the Iowa Freedom Summit.
According to The Des Moines Register, the inaugural event in Des Moines on January 24 “is being held by Citizens United and Congressman Steve King” and “will serve as a place to discuss conservative ideas, as people get ready for the upcoming Iowa Caucuses next year.” Guests reportedly also include Newt Gingrich and other potential 2016 candidates, such as Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Carson, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Huckabee and Santorum won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
Palin’s trips to Iowa, where her favorability ratings are through the roof across the aisle, have always been significant. In a landmark speech in Indianola, Iowa, in 2011, she railed against crony capitalism and the bipartisan permanent political class, ensuring those themes would be in the political conversation. Her presence at the Iowa State Fair during the 2012 election cycle ginned up the most enthusiasm. And she recently endorsed Senator-elect Joni Ernst in the GOP Senate primary.
During the 2012 election cycle, Santorum started to gain traction in the polls after Palin praised him during a Fox News appearance, as Breitbart News noted:
One of the reasons Palin has been called the prototypical “Teavaneglical” politician is because she fervently appeals to faith-based voters as much as she does to fiscally conservative voters. Her influence was proven during the 2012 cycle when she praised Rick Santorum in December in 2011 when Iowans seemed lukewarm about the field of Republican primary candidates. After Palin made her remarks on December 2 on Fox News’s Hannity, Santorum, who was at four percent in the polls in Iowa–barely above Jon Huntsman, who was not even competing in the state–started getting momentum and eventually won the caucus a month later. Though Santorum had gone “all-in” in Iowa and planted his campaign exclusively in the state, voters were persuaded to consider his candidacy more seriously after Palin spoke kindly of him.