By Justin Sink
Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin hinted this week that she could aid Tea Party primary challengers against incumbent Republican senators, like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
"Rest well tonight, for soon we must focus on important House and Senate races. Let's start with Kentucky —which happens to be awfully close to South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi — from sea to shining sea we will not give up," she said. "We've only just begun to fight."
The message seemed to indicate that Palin could also aid in primary challenges of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).
Each of those candidates will need to defeat a Tea Party challenger before moving on to defend their seat from the Democratic candidate.
In Mississippi, State Sen. Chris McDaniel said Thursday he hopes to unseat Chochran, a six-term veteran of the Senate, while State Rep. Joe Carr is challenging Alexander in Tennessee.
Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from the Citadel, is challenging Graham in South Carolina. And in Kentucky, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin is attempting to knock McConnell out of the race.
In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, Bevin said national political figures had contacted his campaign to express support, but declined to say whether Palin was among them.
"They are all watching," Bevin said. "Many of them will come on board."
Palin played similarly coy when asked about her Facebook post on Fox News.
"I've been saying for years that robust, competitive primaries make for a better political system," Palin said. "It makes people work harder and express more articulately what their record is and what their intentions for our country is. So as for the individual races, I'm going to see who the opposition to the sitting, status quo politicians is."