Tax group jumps gun on Palin candidacy

Posted: Monday, August 11, 2003

WASILLA - Former Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin said she hasn't decided to run for U.S. Senate, despite a national tax reform group's description of her as a candidate.

"My to-do list for the day didn't include filing for U.S. Senate," Palin told the Anchorage Daily News. "It was out of the blue and I was real surprised. I am continuing to think about (running) but that's where I am."

Palin burst into statewide politics last year as a surprisingly strong runner-up to Loren Leman in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

Later, Gov. Frank Murkowski included her on a list of Republicans he considered appointing to serve out the rest of his Senate term. Instead, Murkowski tapped his daughter, state Rep. Lisa Murkowski, for that job.

Since then, Palin has been among a handful of Republicans who've said they are considering challenging Lisa Murkowski in next year's primary.

The tax reform group, Americans for Tax Reform, apparently found Palin listed as a potential Senate candidate on a Web page, a spokesman for the group said. The group sent her a copy of its Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which opposes any increase in the federal income tax.

Palin said she signed it and returned it a few weeks ago. Earlier this week, the organization put out a press release describing her as one of many candidates who had done so.

But Palin said she didn't mean signing the pledge to suggest she has decided to run. That's still a possibility, but it might not be a realistic possibility, she said, adding that a Senate campaign likely would require her to raise millions of dollars.

Plus, she said, a number of Republicans have discouraged her from launching a campaign against Murkowski, so the party can devote all its resources to defeating Democrat Tony Knowles, the former governor who announced last month that he is running for the seat.

Former state lawmaker Johne Binkley of Fairbanks and Teamsters Local 959 boss Jerry Hood have also said they were considering challenging Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary.

But Hood said last month he's decided not to run after all. Binkley says he won't decide until later in the year.

Palin is the chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a position Gov. Murkowski appointed her to in February.

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