Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee: Who's the better primary-day backer?

As we await returns from primaries in Alaska, Arizona, and Florida, which of the two theoretical candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is working harder to support their candidates – Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee?

John Raoux/AP
Bill McCollum, left, Republican candidate for Florida governor speaks to supporters while campaigning with former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee in Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 22.

On this day of important US political primaries, as we wait for the vote totals to roll in from Alaska and Arizona and Florida, we’ve been wondering this: Who’s working harder for the candidates they’ve endorsed, Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee?

In this notional contest between two theoretical (or is that theological?) candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, we’ll put Huckabee in first, at least to start. We reached this position after a rigorous analysis, which mostly consisted of flipping through some social media.

Have you seen ex-Gov. Huckabee’s Twitter feed? The man is on fire. He’s spitting out lists of who to vote for in races from Alaska to Florida. He’s even had time to stick in a plug for the less-noticed Oklahoma primary. (He’s pushing James Lankford for Congress in the fifth Congressional district GOP race, and John Doak for insurance commissioner. In case you’re interested.)

Ex-Gov. Palin, by contrast, seems more relaxed. No, you know, “relaxed” isn’t the right word – she seems more focused on her home state. She’s got lots of stuff about supporting Joe Miller in his beat to unseat incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska’s GOP Senate primary. She’s even posted video of the duo debating on her Facebook page.

However, Palin does not seem to have posted anything recently about the guy she endorsed in the Arizona Senate primary. That would be John McCain, her one-time running mate. (By the way, wouldn’t you love to see Sen. McCain cast in that reality series that Levi Johnston is filming about running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska? McCain could be the cranky housekeeper who keeps threatening to “filibuster some sense” into Johnston, Bristol Palin’s ex-paramour.)

But to be fair there are lots of ways to support your endorsees, and shout-outs on election day are a superficial measure. Palin went to Arizona and campaigned for McCain earlier this year when it looked like he might be in actual trouble in his primary race against J.D. Hayworth. The polls are better for McCain now. He doesn’t need last-ditch help.

The Murkowski family, in contrast, is something of a bête noire for Palin. She beat Sen. Murkowski’s father, Frank, in the 2006 gubernatorial primary. It’s Alaska. It’s personal.

So, yes, if Miller loses (as expected) it may look like Palin is losing juice in her home state. But she’s done well with other recent endorsements – GOP California Senate nominee Carly Fiorina credits Palin with helping her win a tough primary fight.

In the meantime, Huckabee’s been in Florida in recent days, campaigning with his endorsee for governor, state Attorney General Bill McCollum, among other candidates. No word on whether he brought along his band, Capitol Offense.

So we’ll call it a tie. But we’d be remiss if we left things without saying this: Happy Birthday Mike! Today is Huckabee’s 55th.

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