A war of words has erupted between former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the senator she might take on next year: Democrat Mark Begich.
The conflict started Tuesday when Palin told Fox News' Sean Hannity that she has "considered" a U.S. Senate bid because, "Senator Mark Begich has got to be replaced. He has not done what he had promised to do for the people of Alaska, which is to represent what it is the nation needs in terms of energy development, because he's on the wrong side of the aisle."
Begich fired back at Palin during a Politico interview Wednesday. "A Republican primary in Alaska? She may not survive," Begich said. "I take every candidate seriously, that is, if she's still a resident, but you know she quit on Alaska when she was governor."
And now Palin has responded via Facebook. She wrote a scathing post this morning about Begich that began, "Really, Mark? Really?"
It continued, "Mark, after looking at your voting record I can see why you are looking for a distraction. You have voted FOR Obamacare, FOR massive tax increases, FOR carbon taxes which could cost Alaskans 21,000 jobs, AGAINST pro-life legislation, and there's so much more."
Hinting again at her own possible U.S. Senate campaign, Palin, 49, wrote, "[M]any hope to see great changes for our great state following the upcoming 2014 election. In the meantime, we suppose we'll see much more playing of the ol' Washington political game using those inside D.C. reporters each time you have to distract from yet another bad vote for Alaska in the U.S. Senate."
But Begich, 51, is not the only fire Palin might need to put out. Others have already expressed uncertainty on whether Palin will run, or, if she does, whether she will have any chance of success, even against fellow Republican contenders Joe Miller, a Gulf War vet and former state judge, and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.
GOP strategist and former spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee Brian Walsh tweeted Wednesday, "Personally, I'll believe it when I see it. She does a good job keeping her name out there on one thing or another though."
Alaska Democratic Party communications director Zack Fields, in an interview with ABC Wednesday, said, "I think the fact that she is considering running shows how weak the [Republican] field is, and national Republicans are still trying to find a credible candidate to run against Senator Begich because, obviously, Sarah Palin is not a particularly strong candidate."
Fields does not consider any of the potential Republican candidates "particularly strong" because, "All of the Republicans who are in the field or that are entering either have low name recognition or a lot of negative [recognition], like Palin, and I think that's partly because she has lost touch with the state."
Still, with more than a year left until Alaska voters choose the Republican candidate on Aug. 26, 2014, "I think the primary is really unpredictable and, from what we've heard, there are other people who may yet jump in the primary, so it's going to be crowded," he said.
"I'm sure it's going to be hard fought, but, as far as who Republican primary voters are going to choose, I really don't know."