Palin Waiting Game Could Run Into October

Palin Waiting Game Could Run Into October

By Scott Conroy - September 23, 2011

Decision day for Sarah Palin is coming next week. That is, of course, unless it isn't.

Asked in July when she would decide whether to run for president, the former Alaska governor told Fox News' Sean Hannity, "August and September. You do have to start laying out a plan if you are to be one to throw your hat in the ring, so that's basically the time frame."

During an early August appearance at the Iowa state fair, Palin echoed that language, suggesting again that late-summer was “basically” her deadline to decide.

“That is still a possibility for a timetable,” Palin replied when asked about the matter. “Yes, definitely.”

For anyone who may have been confused about whether late-September was “definitely” the timetable or merely “definitely a possibility” for a timetable, Palin did little to clarify the matter during another Fox News interview this week. Hannity this time asked her whether November was the month by which she would need to make a decision.

“Legally you do because you have to start getting your ducks lined up to have your name on these ballots,” the former Alaska governor said.

As if to offer another layer of fog to the mystery she seems to revel in, Palin added, “Mark my word, it is going to be an unconventional type of election process.”

Even if she were to run the wildly nontraditional campaign that she and her advisers have publicly and privately said would be the case if she gets into the race, the 2008 vice presidential candidate would still have to abide by some very conventional cut-off dates for getting her name on primary state ballots.

The first one of concern appears to be Florida, where the Division of Elections has set an Oct. 31 deadline for the Republican Party to provide a list of names of presidential candidates. The very next day, Nov. 1, is the last chance for GOP White House hopefuls to submit a filing fee to get on the ballot in South Carolina.

Despite a string of subsequent states that require the more arduous task of gathering signatures to appear on the ballot, a mid- to late-October entry into the race appears to be an eminently doable prospect for Palin, at least as far as procedural hurdles are concerned.

Logistical feasibility is one consideration, but the practical realities of getting in so late are another matter altogether.

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

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