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Palin -- not welcome in Virginia's or New Jersey's governor races?

October 12, 2009 |  7:48 am
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during 2008 campaign

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may be the hottest ticket around for conservatives who have made her memoir, "Going Rogue," a bestseller on Amazon.com even before it is published. And she may still be the heartthrob choice of evangelicals hoping she'll run for president in 2012.

But apparently, less than one month before the election, Republican candidates in hotly contested gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia have declined her help.

The governor offered her assistance with both races,” adviser Meg Stapleton told Politico.com. “The ball is in their court.”

The rebuff makes sense.

In Virginia, where Palin wowed crowds during the 2008 election, Republican Bob McDonnell is now courting the middle -- the vote-rich suburbs just outside of Washington, D.C., which in recent elections have helped tilt the state blue.

And in New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine has closed the gap with his Republican opponent, Chris Christie, who likewise is running toward the middle where the state's mostly blue voters reside.

With the two off-year elections being viewed as a referendum on President Obama's popularity, neither Republican candidate seems to want to risk losing the independent voters who view Palin as a firebrand.

“Look, if Mitt Romney shows up in Virginia Beach, the Virginian-Pilot is covering that,” a Republican political strategist told Politico.  “If Sarah Palin shows up there, the damn New York Times is covering it.”

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: J.D. Pooley / Getty Images

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