Over at Red State, Jeff Emanuel contrasts the presumptive Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin and the Democratic Presidential nominee, Barack Obama (via Instapundit). And while he references their “previous public jobs,” he does not discuss the manner of their various elections.
That difference really distinguishes the two candidates, showing the one-term Alaska Governor to be a much tougher competitor, a more formidable foe, than the junior Senator from Illinois.
Back in 1996, both won election to office, Palin as Mayor of Wasilla, Obama to the Illinois State Senate. And just how did that Democrat win against Alice Palmer, the incumbent Senator of his own party?
The day after New Year’s 1996, operatives for Barack Obama filed into a barren hearing room of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
There they began the tedious process of challenging hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city’s South Side. And they kept challenging petitions until every one of Obama’s four Democratic primary rivals was forced off the ballot.
That’s right, he had her name — as well of the names of his other potential rivals — removed from the ballot.
And Sarah Palin? How did she win election that year? She rain against a three-term incumbent Mayor John Stein and beat him.
Obama gets the incumbent’s name removed from the ballot. Palin defeats him in an open election.
Now, let’s turn to the first election to statewide office.
In 2004, businessman Blair Hull was favored to win the Democratic Illinois Senate nomination, but allegations surfaced that he had abused his ex-wife. His poll numbers plummeted and Obama picked up the slack, easily winning the primary.
Three months after that victory, Jack Ryan, who had won a hotly contested Republican primary, withdrew from the race after a Los Angeles judge ruled that his divorce records be unsealed. The Illinois GOP selected Alan Keyes, a one-time conservative intellectual who had become an extremist crank as their party’s nominee. Obama won in a landslide.
While there is no evidence of any underhanded behavior on Obama’s party, he did get quite lucky.
So, what about Sarah Palin first statewide election?
In the 2006 Republican primary, she challenged the incumbent Governor Frank Murkowski who also faced former Alaska State Senator John Binkley. Â Against these two opponents, she won with over 50% of the vote.
Even though the Last Frontier is a Republican state, her works wasn’t over once she won the party’s primary. Â In the general election, she faced former governor Tony Knowles, the most popular Democrat in the state. Despite running in a political climate which did not favor the GOP, she beat Knowles by 7 points. Â That “despite reported efforts by her own party’s leaders to defeat her” and the presence of aÂ former Republican state representative, Andrew Halcro, on the ballot running as an independent.
Palin ran a number of tough races while Obama either maneuvered to get his opponents off the ballot or just plain got lucky when their scandals enabled him to win almost by default.