Sarah Palin's Endorsements See Mixed Results

Tea Party Nabs Key Victories in Mid-term Elections

ByHuma Khan
November 03, 2010, 2:09 AM

Nov. 3, 2010— -- The Tea Party scored major victories in the mid-term elections Tuesday, but endorsements by its de facto leader -- Sarah Palin -- showed more mixed results.

Palin, who has become a major force in national politics since she stepped down as governor of Alaska, travelled coast to coast in recent weeks campaigning for candidates that often bucked the Republican establishment.

Six of her selected Senate candidates won on Tuesday, including Tea Party favorites Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida. But four others who garnered wide national attention lost out to Democrats, including Delaware candidate Christine O'Donnell, the most heavily covered candidate in this election cycle, and Sharron Angle, who was unable to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Palin didn't campaign in person for either O'Donnell or Angle.

The former Alaska governor denied earlier tonight that Tea Party candidates hurt Republican chances in the Senate races in Delaware and Nevada.

"There's that premise, that argument that's made, well, geez a Tea Party, real conservative candidate, kind of blew it for Republican chances in either of those states [Nevada or Delaware]. But I argue against that," she said in a Fox News interview. "I would argue the premise that it was going to be safer with any other GOP primary winner other than Sharron Angle in there that the seat would have gone to a Republican, specifically with that argument we can apply that to Christine O'Donnell."

In gubernatorial races, four of Palin's endorsements packed a punch, including Nikki Haley in South Carolina who credited her initial primary win to the Fox analyst's endorsement.

Palin endorsed at least 41 House candidates who were on the ballot Tuesday. Thirty-five of those races had been decided, out of which 22 of her picks won and 13 lost.

Even though she holds no political office, Palin has emerged as a formidable voice in national politics. Palin's endorsements helped candidates like Haley and O'Donnell defeat Republican establishment favorites in the primaries.

She has positioned herself as a de facto Tea Party leader, aligning herself with influential groups like the Tea Party Express. On Tuesday, she urged Republicans to come together with Tea Party candidates moving forward.

"Now is a time for a drive towards unity and I think that it will work because there is a common mission here with Tea Party Americans and with the GOP establishment. The desire is for a smaller, smarter government. It is to reign in the federal government and allow our states more rights and our individuals more rights, ultimately resulting in the private sector being able to grow again," Palin told Fox News' Bret Baier.

Sarah Palin's Endorsements Show Mixed Results

"Now it's a matter of coming together, the different personalities. There will be essentially a few new sheriffs in town so there could be some roughness around the edges when it comes to this team coming together. But it's a time for unity after tonight," she added.

Her foray into national politics has fuelled many rumors about her intentions to run for president in 2012.

Palin has said she will run for president "if there is nobody else to do it."

Palin went to Iowa in September to speak at the Iowa Republican Party's Ronald Reagan dinner, sparking speculation of a potential run.

The former governor has shut down reports that Republicans are on a common mission to stop her from running, telling Fox News the story is "crap."

Whatever her intentions, Palin's interest in the presidency is not being reciprocated by most Americans: Two-thirds of registered voters in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll say she's unqualified for the job, and more than half continue to rate her unfavorably overall.

While there are political and ideological divides on Palin, she faces hurdles across the board. Even in her own party, Republicans split, 47 percent to 46 percent, on whether she's qualified or unqualified to serve as president. Conservatives disagree, 45-48 percent, as do Tea Party supporters, 48-48 percent.

ABC News' Mary Bruce contributed to this report.

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