Sarah Palin, running for Congress against three others on Nov. 8, told Steve Bannon on the War Room podcast that she wasn’t working with her campaign consultants, that they’d given her “crappy advice,” and that she is managing her own campaign now. She is not raising money, she said, but instead going into the general election on the strength of her reputation.
Fundraising mills have cost Palin’s campaign tens of thousands of dollars. Conservative Connector charges her for lists of possible donors; those lists are used to send out email and text message fundraising notes.
Campaign insiders say that Palin’s campaign manager and longtime ally Kris Perry has pulled away from the campaign. Jerry Ward, who is a volunteer and not paid campaign staff, is still with her and shows up alongside her at events, which are few and far between. In Alaska, Palin is using Optima Public Relations, and it’s unclear what she meant by getting “crappy advice” from them or if the company is still with Palin; her campaign’s last disbursement to Optima, for $9,144, was on Oct. 19. After debts are paid, Palin had just $75,000 in cash on hand as of Oct. 19.
“Ya gotta wonder if they’re really in it for the right reasons ’cause sometimes they give really crappy advice and effort,” she told Bannon, commenting on her hired campaign consultants. “So, I’m doing a lot of this myself. I’m not going to ask people for donations, though, which ticks off those in my campaign, you know, and other campaigns, because they look at this as a business and they get a cut of funds raised.”
It’s not the kind of thing a candidate who is in a winning stance would typically say. The admission that she was doing her campaign on her own now was surprising, but the cost of hiring campaign consultants has been expensive, siphoning off much of the money that Palin has raised.
Her total receipts for her campaign have been $1.7 million as of Oct. 19, but her campaign costs have consumed almost all of it before the final few days, when funds would be most needed. At least half of the funds Palin has raised appear to have gone to the fundraising mill that she contracted with, leaving her with little to work with.
Palin is running against Mary Peltola, the Democrat, Nick Begich, the Republican, and Chris Bye, the Libertarian. Pelota is the current incumbent, having won the seat to fill out the remainder of the late Congressman Don Young’s term.
In a call with supporters in Ketchikan, Republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka also noted that Palin had pulled back from her campaign, wasn’t spending much time in state, and didn’t seem to be putting in the effort.
On the Bannon podcast, Palin blamed the Republican establishment in the state, and complained she was not invited to a get-out-the-vote rally at Anchorage Baptist Temple. She also blamed Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader for pouring money into Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s race and remarked that Murkowski is supporting the Democrat in the race, Mary Peltola.