By- Suzie-Q @ 3:00 PM MST
September 18 2008 at 12:45 PM|
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was to star at two major California fundraisers and an Orange County rally for 15,000 next week, has canceled her two-day swing through the Golden State, campaign sources said.
The change is a shocker, because Palin’s presence had electrified the GOP base in California. Party insiders were distributing 15,000 tickets to her Sept. 26 rally in Orange County — and fundraisers reported an almost instantaneous sell-out of her two $1,000-a-head Sept. 25 fundraising events in Orange County and Santa Clara.
Both fundraisers had generated such high ticket sales that the OC Lincoln Club event was moved to the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and the Bay Area event was moved from the Woodside home of Tom Siebel to the huge Santa Clara Convention Center.
The change comes in the same week a new Field Poll showed that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama still leads Republican presidential candidate John McCain in California by a whopping 16-point margin.
So Palin’s pullout from her Western state swing is sure to ramp up chatter that the GOP ticket — which has insisted it will compete here — may be reassessing its Golden State presence. (Team McCain says it’s just a scheduling issue.)
The Field poll had some troubling news for McCain-Palin here: The Alaska Gov’s addition to the ticket, while strengthening the GOP base, hasn’t advanced the ball for the Republican team among the 1 in 5 California voters who are independent or decline to state.
Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo noted this week that those independents and middle-of-the-roaders are the same critical voters who elected Arnold Schwarzenegger here — and weigh heavily in the election nationwide. A New York Times poll released today, which shows Obama ahead by 5 points, appears to reflect the same trend.
Just last week, powerhouse Bay Area GOP fundraiser Kristen Hueter said Palin was a ”gangbusters” fundraiser with folks snapping up tickets and coming from around the country for her Sept. 25 appearances.
”It doesn’t happen in my world like this,” Hueter told us last week. ”People are flying in … from the Virgin Islands, Florida, Massachusetts, all over.”
The Palin events were aimed to benefit the Republican National Committee, and the California Republican Party (chairs and hosts were being told they could give as much as $40,800 a person for those causes). The latest: It’s unclear if the fundraisers will go on without her, or if they’ll be rescheduled. We haven’t gotten confirmation of either yet, but will update when we get it.