The Washington Times - July 30, 2013, 08:15AM

She may not be communicating much with the new head of the state party, but former Alaska Gov. and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is the top choice for Republicans to run against Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in the state’s U.S. Senate race next year.

Thirty-six percent of GOP primary voters prefer Mrs. Palin compared to 26 percent for Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, 15 percent for Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, and 12 percent for Joe Miller, who defeated GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 Republican primary only to lose to her after Mrs. Murkowski launched a write-in bid. The numbers come from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.


Mrs. Palin generated national buzz earlier this month when she told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that she has considered running against Mr. Begich.

“I’ve considered it because people have requested me considering it,” she said.

Mrs. Palin trails Mr. Begich by 12 points in a hypothetical match-up, 52 percent to 40 percent. Mr. Treadwell, who leads Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Miller in a three-way race if Mrs. Palin does not run, is the closest to Mr. Begich in a head-to-head match-up, trailing by just four points at 44 percent to 40 percent.

Mr. Begich leads Mr. Sullivan by 8 points, 47 percent to 39 percent, and Mr. Miller by a whopping 23-point margin at 55 percent to 32 percent.

“It looks like Begich/Treadwell would be a very competitive race,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Republicans just have to hope their primary voters nominate the right candidate.”

Alaska Public Radio reported earlier this month that Peter Goldberg, the chairman of the state Republican party, has not talked to Mrs. Palin about a potential run, however.

“I would think she would want to at least speak briefly to the new head of the Alaska Republican Party. But no, never met the lady. Never spoken to her. I have seen her once,” Mr. Goldberg told the station.

The survey of 890 Alaska voters, including 507 usual Republican primary voters was taken from July 25-28 and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points. The margin of error for the GOP portion is 4.4 percentage points.