Sarah Palin is mounting an aggressive campaign in Missouri — in television and radio ads, in automated telephone calls, even serving barbecued pork sandwiches at a rural political picnic. She’s urging residents to vote for Sarah — Sarah Steelman, one of three Republicans in a prickly U.S. Senate primary.
Fresh off a resounding Republican runoff victory by Ted Cruz in Texas, Palin and the tea party movement now are trying to capitalize in primaries this month in Missouri, Wisconsin and Arizona. But they may pose a more difficult test than in Texas, where the charismatic Cruz waged an outsider’s campaign against the Republican establishment’s pick of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
In Tuesday’s primary in Missouri, conservative loyalties are fractured among a trio of candidates all preaching a smaller-government message while splitting the endorsements of conservative celebrities. In Wisconsin, the would-be tea party beneficiaries are up against a political icon — former four-term Gov. Tommy Thompson. In all three states, millionaire businessmen are self-financing campaigns focused more on a Main Street message of job-creation than a direct tea party appeal.