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Palin to Visit S.C. as Part of Early-State Trifecta

Palin to Visit S.C. as Part of Early-State Trifecta

By Scott Conroy - June 1, 2011

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will visit the first-in-the-South primary state of South Carolina later this month as part of her nationwide bus tour, RealClearPolitics has learned.

According to well-informed sources, Palin's trip is divided into three separate segments, in which visits to each of the first three voting states -- New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina -- will be the geographical centerpieces.

Though Palin may set up a meeting with Gov. Terry Branstad when she travels to Iowa in the coming days, RCP has learned that she is purposefully bypassing meetings with local party leadership as she works to cultivate her image as an "anti-politician," in anticipation of a wildly unconventional presidential run.

"Well, like tonight, if a local city council member would have been at the pizza parlor, we would have sat with them and chatted with them just as we did with the -- chatting with some of the folks on the street as we walked in," Palin told RCP and CNN in an extended interview in a hotel lobby here on Tuesday night. "We were in Walmart last night in Gettysburg, and I met one of the local city council members who happened to be there in line, so it's not that we avoid them."

During her political rise in Alaska, Palin had several high-profile dust-ups with members of the state GOP establishment, which left an indelible mark on her psyche and have made her resistant to what she views as the trappings of party machinery.

Palin won accolades in Alaska when she blew the whistle on a state party chairman who had committed ethics violations, and she subsequently took on incumbent GOP Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski during her successful 2006 gubernatorial primary run, in which she was opposed by most members of the party apparatus.

Palin has shown a deep desire to avoid direct participation in the traditional machinations of Republican Party politics ever since, and she is showing no signs of changing a strategy that has repeatedly paid dividends.

"I figure that politicians in office are really busy and they don't need to be bothered by someone just knocking on their door," Palin told RCP.

Following her current "One Nation" tour of the Northeast, Palin will next journey to the Midwest, where Iowa will be front and center. Plans are still being drawn up, but she may visit the World Pork Expo in Des Moines.

During the third leg of her tour, Palin will travel to South Carolina and may also appear at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where several other current and potential GOP White House hopefuls are scheduled to speak.

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Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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