Suzanne Downing: Not so fast on Palin for Congress



To the rest of America, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is a conservative standard-bearer, and now that she’s running for Congress, they may think she’s a shoo-in.

But for Alaskans, it’s “not so fast.” We lived through her time in office, and we’ve not recovered.

Alaskans remember when she was governor and the damage she did to the state’s economy when she jacked up the taxes on oil so high that the oil companies stopped seriously exploring here and took their investment to the shale fields in the Lower 48. 

A progressive tax called ACES, or “Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share,” was such a disaster for the state that it was undone under the governor who followed Palin, conservative Republican Sean Parnell.

Parnell spent a good deal of political capital undoing that tax, which was a 90 percent government take when oil prices were high. 

Palin taxed and spent so much on government that it took everything Parnell had to try to land the spending plane when he came into office in 2009. She left a combination of a terrible tax scheme and high government spending.

Palin didn’t like the undoing of her onerous tax and spending programs, which she had crafted with the help of legislative Democrats.

When Parnell, who had been her lieutenant governor, ran for re-election as governor 2014, five years after Palin quit office, Palin stabbed Parnell in the back and endorsed his opponent, Bill Walker, the Democratic Party’s chosen candidate. Walker won — and in his four years continued to beat up the oil industry in Alaska. Walker wanted higher oil taxes – he just could not get them through the Legislature.

Walker, who is now known in Alaska as “China Bill,” also nearly sold off Alaska’s North Slope gas assets to China during his tenure, and was shown the door by voters four years later after he spectacularly melted down during the final weeks of his campaign and quit when the going got tough — just like Palin did.

Alaska’s economy has never been the same since those ACES days of “equitable” share. What could have been a renaissance of exploration and oil that would have helped America stave off today’s current oil shortage and high gas prices instead turned into an economic malaise, only worsened by the Biden Administration. 

If wells could have been economically drilled under Governors Palin and Walker, the Biden reign of economic disaster on Alaska would have been softened by leases that would be well under way by now.

ACES was also a bad tax because it actually incentivized spending on anything but oil production. There were tax credits for capital spending on things like runways, and companies did make those kinds of investments. They just didn’t drill during ACES. 

The tax that replaced it, Senate Bill 21, incentivized production and flattened the progressive tax. But by then, the Palin-Democrats’ damage was done.

Democrats? Yes. ACES was a product of Democrats who controlled the Legislature, and the Republican governor who just wanted to be loved, and thus signed the legislation without fully understanding what she was doing.

As governor, Palin put Pat Galvin in charge as the Commissioner of Revenue. He was a tax-and-spend Democrat whose wife, Alyse Galvin, later ran against Congressman Don Young in 2018 and again in 2020. A no-party candidate, she ran with the support of the Alaska Democratic Party, just like the fake-independent Walker had run for governor with the full support of the Democratic Party.

These were Palin’s people: Walker, Galvin, and Democrat legislators who supported socialistic policies that led to an oil decline of 6-8 percent a year.

Palin also gave $500 million to a Canadian company for a gasline that never materialized. She told everyone in America that Alaska was building a gasline. That gasline is still a pipe dream.

This congressional race is not a reality TV show. Alaskans have watched their economy suffer under the Palin and Walker regimes, and many are wiser than we were when we fell for the glamorous mayor of Wasilla with the six-inch heels who said, “Drill, baby, drill,” but made it impossible to drill.

But Alaska also sees a 6 percent turnover in its population every year. That means there are hundreds of thousands living in Alaska that have no idea about the true history of Sarah Palin. They only know the name from reality TV and the fact that their relatives in the Lower 48 ask them if they’ve ever met her. 

With Palin’s fundraising ability, her innate marketing savvy, and her endorsement from Donald Trump, she’s a formidable candidate for Congress. But she still has a lot of explaining to do to Alaskans who were here more than a decade ago and who rightfully ask, “Haven’t you done enough, already?”

Suzanne Downing is the publisher of Must Read Alaska.


  1. Anyone know how to forward this to Trump. He is just paying her back for endorsing him. Maybe his eyes need opened.

    • I’ll post on Twitter…….. 10,000 + followers…….. Trump Jr, Kaleigh, etc…… so hopefully they will read it…….

    • Trump only endorses people he thinks can/will win. It’s mostly about having a high success rate for his endorsements.

    • You didn’t get to see the results of her policies because she quit halfway through her term.

      • Probably only if she gets sued by every idiot with an axe to grind. But then I suppose you would have stayed and been sued into oblivion, since you are so brave and principled, after all.

    • Perhaps take some time to educate yourself… because, clearly, you aren’t familiar with her record.

    • Wrong. She started out strong but fell flat on her face not long after. She raised spending right along with her tax hikes on the Oil companies to such a level that we have never been able to regain a balanced budget. I am not a Dem but to his credit, Knowles did balance the budget prior to her drunken sailor spending spree. Then McCain the phony got hold of her and she has not been whole since. Not a chance in hell. Fool me once…

  2. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Have any other candidates demonstrated the ability to do the job? Have any other candidates demonstrated consistent common sense and conservative values? Not sure we have a perfect choice, so maybe we go with the good one.

  3. Not a big fan…. I know she loves Alaska and I know she was unfairly hounded by the press (They even attacked her special needs Child) and a lot of left wing opposition hated her to the point to which they sued her every chance they could get, which pretty much left her inept to run a State and was probably the reason she left office (or to some just quit), but I think she just misses the lime light and who’s to say those same left wingers will not pull the same tactics as before and leave her just as inept… Then their is her connection with Sen (back stabbin) MCain, who I truly believe was the wrong choice to run for President… Now is not the time for distraction.. Now is the time for an un-self centered leader…

  4. Whew! The claws are out for Sarah!
    A lot of Suzanne’s so-called history is a spin-job.
    That period was a crazy time – high oil prices, gas-line fever, and then the whole VP thing.
    Sarah then became one of the first victims of a full-scale media/deep state assault of misogyny and disinformation. She fought through it and brought the McCain campaign into a lead in the polls right before the insider-directed economic crash of 2008 (shortly before the election). It was the “Russian collusion” smear job of 2008.
    Back in Alaska, the trolls continued the attacks to the point of threatening her entire family’s well being.
    With no friends on the Left and, now, no friends on the Right she will be a great representative for the rest of us.

    • Chris, I remember during her term as Governor trying to decide if I should call her Hugo Palin, or Sarah Chavez. ACES was a disaster for our state and the $3,XXX checks she handed out to us was something like the Tooth Fairy blowing pixy dust across the state.

      I’m sure she’d do her best for the nation, I believe she’s patriotic. However taxing our #1 industry to the point where she’s handing out “free” money isn’t where I want to see our nation.

    • Chris, I was there. She was a disaster from start to finish. Utterly undefined politically, she talked the talk but failed to walk the walk. Suzanne has a very accurate and detailed description of the Palin years. It is not spin. The progressives, of which you may well be one will continue to pretend that these’s things did not happen. But I was there. I remember being floored time and again by our “conservative” governor who seemingly did not have a clue of what conservative meant.

      • City of Wasilla was flush with cash from the time she was elected to city council and all through her mayoral terms. It would certainly be a mistake to give her credit for being fiscally conservative because she never had to cut anything as mayor or governor.

  5. You nailed it Suzanne. Palin is a loser and, worse, a quitter. Remember “trooper gate”? When Palin’s going (of her own doing) got tough, she ‘got going’. She quit. Quitting and ditching Alaskans as governor was easier for her than trying to straighten out her own mess and admitting it. Then she schmoozed up to McCain and lost. Now she wants to “represent” Alaskans in the federal gov’t? I certainly hope not.

    A profound “No Way” will be my vote for her.

    Nick Begich is ‘the one’. He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. Vote for Nick and Alaska. Not Palin, who doesn’t even live here any more. She’s big time now. Time to ditch the hicks (Alaskans) and move on into big time politics (deep state) on ‘our’ behalf. BS! She would not be good for Alaska.

  6. Is Palin even an Alaska Resident anymore? What about her 2.5 million dollar mansion in Arizona?

    Look she never did her job as governor aside from boosting herself. From the corruption of self serving moves and landing in the ethics hotseat multiple times, to the 2008 tour for VP to finally quitting her job as AK governor in 2009 saying she could do more for alaska not as governor … so what more did she do since 2009?

    A book? A reality show? A blog?

    Still self-serving even 13 years later …

    Why would any Alaskan vote for her? She didn’t even serve her full term as our Governor but wants us to now pay for her to live in Washington and make us look ridiculous?

    • I don’t disagree with your sentiments. However her “ethical” problems were the work of her, and our, opponents. It was the an earlier version of the Russian Collusion attack on trump. Much ado about nothing in order to keep her/him/us off balance. Shameful.

  7. Grand slam!

    Suzanne, this is the spirit and content of journalism we need in Alaska. I am proud to be part of group of writers who call you our editor!

  8. A term as a mayor and a half term as a governor. Follow the money in Sarahpac. Tax and spend like a drunken Democrat on steroids. Trashing Levi for going Hollywood and then going Hollywood. Donn’t get me wrong Levi needed trashing.

  9. Sounds like she and Murkowski have a lot in common! Untrustworthy to Alaska! Democrats may be paying her well too!!

  10. I was on the radio at the time and covered it all daily. Folks can argue if Palin was good or bad, but miss Downing can’t have her own facts.

    Gov. Parnell doubled the budget during his term in office. This happen on his watch. Palin increase revenue to the state and Parnell came in and spent it all.

    Eddie Burke.

  11. Begich III is awfully disappointed, despite MRAK many people will vote for Palin in the primaryand dilute his ranked choice in the special election.

  12. LOL how much is MRAK getting paid by the Alaska GOP swamp? This is a wild hit peace on our own Governor Palin, whom just got the glowing endorsement of President Trump. I’m going with Sarah America.

    • Yes – and what is little Nick’s track record? Let’s hear that too in all fairness. A name is a name and posing with some guns and outdoor hunting pics doesn’t capture my respect for his candidacy to replace the Dean of the House, regardless of Republican Party endorsements. I’ll hold my nose before I ever vote for another Begich. Sorry. Respectfully.

      • Sassy, he is an intelligent and industrious young man who I would hope you would listen too. Sarah has ALWAYS been about Sarah. 😞

        • Of course he’s intelligent and industrious – he needs to get his credentials out there to take on the DC establishment and effectively represent conservatives in that snake pit. His family name is definitely a hindrance with conservatives like me. Palin’s baggage doesn’t set well with this voter either, but she does have direct exposure to the vicious character of DC politics.

  13. Elected representatives should have relevant experience. Palin doesn’t have much. She’s not a policy maker. She’s an attention seeking egoist like Trump or Boebert or Cruz or Cawthorn.

      • Right wing policy = spend but don’t tax. Do a term and then bail when it all crashes.

        The people asking “Does Trump know about this are a hoot.” He’ll fundraise off of it too.

  14. Sarah Palin is a populist, that wants to lean republican when it benefits her. In the end, it’s always about what’s best for her. Trump is just paying her back for voicing her support for him. Thats how he works. Too bad someone can’t get to Trump and wake him up before he becomes a victim of his own creation up here. His initial support for Dunleavy needs to be pulled also.
    We agree Sarah and Bill were bad for Alaska, but Sean Parnell has no one to blame but himself for handing Bill a victory. When you ignore people and blow them off when they are trying to fix and prevent problems in your administration you have to pay attention and do the right thing. Sean wasn’t interested. So Alaska chose to set him aside and try again. Leadership is needed in Alaska, and we don’t have it.

  15. Thank you Suzanne for offering some real insight, I don’t have anything against Palin but we need new blood, Alaska is dying on the vine, just about the only work here now is government work. Construction is taking it in the a$&, everything in Alaska stems from oil flow an DC dollars, we’ve all but outlawed one and never should count on the other……..I’m not sure Begich is the answer but Sarah’s record is hard to ignore.

    • Hello Frank,
      I know Nick Begich, I know a lot of people who know Nick Begich, and from my perspective he is a very smart person. I highly recommend you take the time to go to one of his events and meet him. He is very accessible.

      – Ryan Nelson

  16. Thank you for this, Suzanne, I was feeling a little like the lone voice crying in the wilderness, trying to remind people of her Liberal policies and her back stabbing treachery.

    The Palinbots, like to keep claiming that poor widdle Sarah got beat up by the mean old Liberals and media, but they cannot get several things through their heads……she was our most Liberal governor, (as evidenced by increased spending and the number of people employed by the state increasing by over 10% in just 2.5 years, and by ACES, and all 3 of her state budgets were larger than the previous ones)…..but she was and is a master at manipulating the Palinbot’s emotions.
    It was all a con to keep them sending money to her PAC.
    She was able to go from an upper middle class lifestyle, to a net worth of over $12 million, including a $5 million mansion in AZ.
    I actually read through a couple of the 200+ page twice yearly required FEC filings for her PAC, and it was heartbreaking to read the income pages…..many many older retired people faithfully sending in whatever was left over from their SS checks every month, because they were conned into believing that she was the ‘rill dill’.
    And mama Sarah liked to travel in style…always first class hotels in NYC and Florida, and limo service, no Motel 6’s and yellow cabs for her.

    No, she not only welcomed all the negative attention, but she deliberately ginned up more every time too much time had passed since the last outcry over some utterance of hers, and things had quieted down.
    It was a very observable pattern.
    Controversy made the money from her true believers pour in, and she loved the money and attention. It was a con.

    If elected, she has no intention of putting the hours that Don Young did, and if elected to his vacant seat, she’ll just hobnob with the DC elite until she’s required to actually get to work, and then…..quit again.

  17. Well to quote a previous comment “the perfect is the enemy of the good” I agree Sarah Palin is not the perfect candidate, but she was very involved in the Tea Party movement to get conservative candidate’s elected to replace RINO republicans. Also you can take it to the bank that she will 100% support MAGA American 1st TRUMP policies. And we already know that Trump’s polices are good for Alaska. With such a crowded field we’re going to need someone with name recognition and support to beat the Murkowski political machine and Trump’s endorsement does carry a lot of weight. So, back to the quote; Sarah Palin may not be the perfect choice, but she may be the right choice at this time who probably has the best chance to defeat traitor Lisa Murkowski.

    • But she didn’t run against Lisa the Lib. Instead, she goes after what looks to be a real conservative. Would’ve supported her in the former situation. Not inclined in the latter. She might be a big benefactor of the ranked choice voting though. Maybe she will end up working out, but she will end up 2nd or 3rd on my ballot in the general.

  18. She quit on Alaska once already…why in the world would you give her another chance to do it again??

  19. Follow up on previous post. I mistakenly stated that Palin is running against Murkowski which is obviously incorrect “Go Kelly Tshibaka”

  20. I’ll never forget 2008 when Sarah presided over the largest PFD adjusted for inflation that has ever been given out and then on top of that she had the unmitigated gall to cut an extra $1,200 check for everyone! Unforgivable!!!

  21. Thank you Suzanne I hope the voters of Alaska will read your opinions and see threw her BS, she has always been a spoiled brat, even as a small child she had to be the center of attention or watch out, just ask her sibling’s she is a a egotistical monster, thanks for reminding voters about China Walker,

  22. It would be a major mistake for Alaska to resurrect the Palin political ghost. If there is any candidate who can drop the ball and get Al Gross elected, Palin has to be that candidate. As soon as Sarah’s mouth runs away from her brain at a rally, debate, or fundraiser, my hope is hat Palin’s candidacy will collapse into oblivion. The Alaska GOP needs to do the right thing and endorse Nick Begich III for congress.

  23. I was going to write a similar piece for MRAK. Don’t need to now and FYI, I was there during the Palin period and the Parnell period. Suzanne has absolutely captured what happened. I am leaning Begich for the moment, but never Palin.

  24. This is a campaign article to attempt to muddy the only true option to Begich, who is no better than his dad or his siblings for Alaska. I think it would be great to replace our whole congressional delegation with true conservatives before we are all eating beans, wondering what happened to our economy. I am still voting for Palin.

    • How do you know he’s no better than his dad Robert. I bet haven’t met him, studied him, or seen what he’s been apart of. Stop being so closed minded and judging based off his name. He’s waaaaayyy better than the former governor who’s mouth runs before her brain gets in the car. Un freaking believable man!

  25. Begich can’t win. His only talent is his last name which is associated with Democrats. Screw around and you are going to elect Al Gross.

  26. Hmm interesting info to consider. I haven’t seen much from Nick Begich that makes me want to choose him either. I’d like to hear both of their thoughts on covid restrictions, the censorship of conservatives online, the January 6th protestors that are still sitting in jail without a trial date set (over a year later), the allegations of widespread election fraud, and what they would do to actually help our country through Congress.

  27. The blarney left advertently on the “government” computers after the Palin administration was a sight to behold. BEHOLD!!!

  28. As a life-long Alaskan who has been paying attention, I’d say Suzanne’s article is spot on. I like Sarah as a person but sometimes her judgment is lacking, as evidenced by her endorsement of “China Bill” Walker. Nick Begich III, a life-long Republican, has an entrepreneurial spirit and real vision for Alaska, the state his grandfather represented. Unlike Murkowski, who had her seat handed to her by her father, Nick has applied himself to learn and work hard to earn this position. I’ve been a “Young Woman” voting for Don Young my entire adult life but had already decided before Young’s death that Nick III is best fit for this job and that this is his time.

  29. Sarah quit her job, not because it got hard or because she sucked at it. She left her job for fame. She’s a complete sellout.

  30. Sarah was disengaged during her abbreviated term as governor. Then she quit. Did I mention she quit? Yes, Sara quit as governor. I have spoken privately with Mr. Begich and find him nothing like his uncle Mark. He is the best in the field by any measure. Anyone who believes family will have a uniform political outlook must not have enjoyed the raucous and often heated exchanges at holiday gatherings. Ours sure did.

  31. Any one who takes on the New York Times, and is hated by CNN will gain my favor. Palin or a Begich -is this seriously a REAL question? The media loves all Begichs’. I’d vote for a Palin over a Begich any day of the week. And write in REVAK and COGHILL with this new ranked voting garbage.

  32. Nick Begich’s ties to the DC Swamp are troubling. Palin, however, is an interesting character. Want to shakeup the Congressional cesspool – send Sarah to Washington, DC!

  33. You make a good case but I made up my mind to vote for her the moment she declared and now with Trumps endorsement my support is solidified. When she makes the top four I hope you’ll give us your rank order of conservatives so I’ll have a number two slot

  34. Then why the democrats loath sarah palin. They practically hate her, so what’s the deal unless democrats are insane, they don’t know what and who they like. There are other republicans recieving better lefty press coverage than Palin ever recieved from the same outfits. But the democrat public slander shows me they hate her. Anyone they hate can’t be all that bad.

    • Sarah Palin is a target of the dems simply because Sarah Palin is such an easy target. She’s not a very smart person, and she makes a crap ton of mistakes.

  35. Besides! Its not palin who is nicholas’ threat, its r-c-v that threaten to elect a greater looney toon, these two may not even get elected.

    • I wonder if those folks will still support all the Trump sycophants when he’s posting bail. There is a limit to Alaskan gullibility and good will. Most folks outside of AK recall Ms Palin’s ‘folksy’ inanities, quirky vagaries which could be twisted to fit what any willing listener desired to hear, single-mindedness which fell far short of goals benefiting all Alaskans, the ‘whopper’s, and willingness to be involved in sedition if things didn’t go her way.

      Sure we can recall the anti-Palin slogans, “Bridge to nowhere” referring to the about-face on the Gravina Island Bridge project for which the $223 million appropriated for it went to other destinations. Troopergate wasn’t anything to be proud of.

      Yes, Ms Palin’s father was a fellow teacher with my Pa at Chugiak Elementary in the early 60s. Not known to make his point of view widely known, my father used to say that her father was a good teacher (as good teachers go, they try to provide guidance, direction, experiences to be able to make good and wise decisions and sometimes having to base them on the quality of the surrounding good counsel).

      When it comes to making decisions to benefit all Alaskans, unfortunately for Ms Palin, and other trumpian sycophants, don’t seem to be able to listen to all constituents, but brag their major accomplishment is snagging an endorsement from what amounts for many if not all intents to a cowardly horse-thief looking out for himself and ensuring ‘power’ with accumulated ill-gotten gains. I mean, what is the worth of person whose identity is associated with criminality, chaos, and lies? Let alone all the other issues.

      Ms Palin is not alone in that sell-out of her soul. A lot of others are trying to hang onto his coattails. Alaskans deserve better than that.

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