Is Sarah Palin running for U.S. Senate–from Arizona?

Sarah Palin (flickr/Bruce Tuten)

Last week, Politico’s Ben Smith reported that sources within Sarah Palin’s camp had told him that, if she elects to vie for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, she’d base her campaign out of Scottsdale, Ariz., not far from Maricopa, where daughter Bristol just bought a house. Now, the Phoenix New Times reports that Palin’s potential move to Scottsdale may be for reasons slightly more realistic than a long-shot presidential bid. According to The New Times’ James King, Republican sources say that she’s considering a run for Senate in Arizona.

Arizona’s Sen. Jon Kyl announced in February
that he would not seek re-election in 2012. Palin would be seeking to fill his seat, presumably counting on the senior senator from Arizona, her erstwhile running mate in 2008 John McCain, for public support in the campaign.

Like many states, Arizona has residency requirements on the books that would bar someone like Palin from moving to the state to join the legislature — a candidate for Arizona state Senate has to have lived in the state for at least three years. But the U.S. Senate still sticks to the language in Article I of the Constitution, which only requires that a candidate be an “inhabitant” of the state in which he or she seeks office at the time of the election.

So Palin would have no legal problem running for U.S. Senate in Arizona and certainly may be able to garner some help from still-popular Sen. McCain, who defeated Democratic opponent Rodney Glassman in the 2010 election 59 to 35 percent. But could she win?

Well, she may have lost out on her chance to be “in charge of the Senate” back in 2008, but even just joining their ranks would an uphill struggle for Palin. The New Times’ King contends that Arizona’s trend toward conservatism and Palin’s fundraising prowess could make her a formidable candidate, and that “if Palin were to run for Senate in Arizona, there’s a pretty good chance she’d win.” Yet the most recent Public Policy Poll on Palin suggests that Palin is even less popular in Arizona than in the United States at large: 57 percent of Arizonans have an unfavorable view of Palin, compared to 56 percent of all Americans.

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