What Life's Been Like For Sarah Palin Since Losing Her State House Seat In 2022

Sarah Palin made plenty of waves when she ran for the Alaska House seat in 2022. She'd been absent from the political scene for quite sometime before that, having resigned as Alaska's governor in 2009. She initially burst into the world of politics in 2008 as the next potential vice president of the United States, alongside presidential hopeful Senator John McCain.

Despite her lengthy political hiatus, Palin reemerged from the woodwork when former President Donald Trump made his bid for the White House in 2016. She was arguably one of his biggest and most vocal supporters, and Trump returned the favor in 2022 when Palin made her bid for Congress, endorsing her shortly after her announcement, assuring Alaskan citizens that Palin is a "wonderful patriot" (via Forbes). Palin's 2008 stance on oil exploration and production made her less popular among some groups — her controversial mantra, "Drill, baby, drill," is a hard one to forget, and she revived it in 2022.

Palin didn't completely disappear from the public eye between 2009 and 2022. She headed a now-defunct political action committee and made a living as a Fox News contributor, speaker, and author in the meantime. A political memo published by The New York Times hints that Palin was Trump's inspiration to run for office and that he borrowed a few tricks from her playbook — most notably the habit of saying just about anything about anyone whether true or not, with no regard for the consequences.

Sarah blamed the voting system for her loss in the special election

When you pay attention, it's easy to spot similarities between Sarah Palin and former President Donald Trump. Palin ran for Alaska's House seat twice in 2022. The first time around was a special election because the sitting representative, Don Young, had died, and someone had to fill in for the remainder of his term. Palin seized the opportunity to make a comeback, but she was bested by Democratic rival, Mary Peltola, much to her chagrin.

Instead of accepting her loss gracefully, Palin blamed Alaska's new voting system. Sounds familiar? In a statement (via NBC News) prior to her loss, she criticized the ranked-choice voting system, calling it, "crazy," "convoluted," and a "cockamamie system that makes it impossible to trust that your vote will even be counted the way you intended." Experts disagreed, however, telling NBC News that the ranked-choice voting system is secure and even more productive than other voting systems, adding that it allows for voters' voices to truly be heard because they get to have a second and third choice on their ballot.

Palin's disdain for the voting system grew after she lost. "You know, back in June we won. We won it, what, had it been winner take all? Out of 50, nearly 50 candidates, we won pretty handedly, right?" she told Alaska's News Source (via Mediaite), adding that she would've bested Peltola had it not been for the new voting system.

She planned on continuing her work for the Republican Party regardless of her loss

You have to give it to Sarah Palin — much like former President Donald Trump, an election loss doesn't leave her so down in the dumps that she gives up on her political aspirations altogether. Instead, it fires her up to continue what she deems a good and worthy fight.

Former Republican state lawmaker Andrew Halcro told PBS that there was little chance Palin would disappear from politics after her loss in the special election. "My question is, when have people like Palin or Trump ever walked away after they've lost? ... They've just ratcheted up their rhetoric," he told the outlet. His words proved to be true. In almost every single interview Palin granted after her loss, she reiterated that her loss to Mary Peltola was but a minor setback and that she wasn't about to disappear into the background. "We have just begun," she told Alaska's News Source (via Mediaite). "And I do repeat that you don't need a title. You don't need an office to make a difference. So we're going to get out there using whatever tools and forums and formats that we have to fight for what's right." In a statement Palin released after her loss was made public, she expressed her disappointment and called on Alaskans to reject the ranked-choice voting system to ensure the rightful winner, aka Palin, lands the House seat come November.

She had to deal with plenty of criticism after losing her bid for the House seat

Sarah Palin's failed bid for Alaska's House seat in the special election evoked plenty of criticism. Some said her loss was due to her ego — she thought she had the win in the bag and therefore neglected her campaign. This turned out to be a grave mistake. Some Alaskans who spoke to The Guardian said Palin's absence during the campaign trail made them decide not to vote for her. One local, Kari Jones, said that Palin failed to attend a meet-and-greet with her fellow Alaskans. "She did lose some votes because of that" Jones revealed, adding that her husband was one of the people who decided to vote for Palin's Republican rival, Nick Begich III, after she was a no-show. Palin's absence ruffled plenty of feathers. "I'm looking for candidates that show they're really dedicated to the state, not just during election time," another local, Aundra Jackson, told the outlet.

Others were of the opinion that Palin's friendly relationship with Donald Trump was to blame. "I am concerned that this is the canary in this election's coal mine," Republican strategist Sean Walsh told Politico. "You've got to appeal to 50 percent plus one vote in every race in every state you're running in ... I don't think Trump right now gets you to 50 percent plus one."

Her second bid for the House seat was unsuccessful as well

Even though Sarah Palin's bid for the Alaskan House seat was unsuccessful during the special elections, she was still determined to be the successful candidate for the general elections that were held in November 2022. Democratic candidate Mary Peltola bested Palin once again, however.

A political memo published by The New York Times after Palin's second loss pointed out that she hadn't learned from the mistakes she made ahead of the special election. She appeared to be detached from her own campaign once again. Unlike other candidates, Palin wasn't campaigning as if her life depended on it in the last days before the election — instead, she was in New York, watching a Knicks game. She also faced challenges when it came to raising money, so much so that, when the time came to double down on campaigning, she was out of funds.

It appears Palin had given up before the elections even took place — or perhaps she thought her popularity among the Republicans in the state would pull her through. Again, it didn't. "Palin simply doesn't have enough support from Alaskans to win an election," Nick Begich III, Palin's Republican rival, said during the special elections (via CNBC). It appears he was right. Republican national committeewoman Cynthia Henry told Politico that Palin was no longer that popular in her home state, describing her as "a little bit of a lightning rod."

She remained friends with her rival and winner of the election, Mary Peltola

It might be hard to believe for some, but Sarah Palin and Mary Peltola are actually friends, and they remained friends even after Peltola hindered Palin's political comeback when she won the Alaska House seat in 2022.

Palin and Peltola first bonded when they were both expectant mothers. Their paths crossed while Peltola was a lawmaker in Juneau and Palin was Alaska's governor. Despite their political differences, the two seem to get along swimmingly. While Palin is known for not mincing words and being unafraid to take a jab at her opponents, it's notable that she didn't once attack Peltola during either election for Alaska's House seat. Sure, she criticized the ranked-choice voting system without avail, but she didn't say one negative word about her Democratic rival, something that is quite unusual in politics.

It appears that Peltola and Palin are practically house friends — the former once told CNN that Palin, after prematurely ending her tenure as governor, gifted her family a trampoline for their backyard. When Palin is asked about her relationship with Peltola, she has nothing but good things to say. While attending an Alaska Federation of Natives candidate forum in October 2022 (after her first loss against Peltola), Palin still commended her friend. "Doggone it, I never have anything to gripe about. I just wish she'd convert on over to the other party. But other than that, love her," she said.

She's continued her relationship with Ron Duguay

In February 2022, rumors were swirling that Sarah Palin and former New York Rangers hockey player, Ron Duguay, were dating. The whispers started after Duguay was spotted at Palin's side in New York. Palin was in the city making an appearance in court for her defamation lawsuit against The New York Times. She told the New York Post that Duguay was an old friend, and she called him before heading to the city. The two were photographed on the Manhattan courthouse's steps, and as journalists enquired whether they were dating, Duguay replied, "We're friends. I'm here to support her," the Daily Beast reported. The outlet was bold enough to send Duguay a text later on, asking if he was dating Palin. He actually replied, "Hi. Yes."

During her interview with the New York Post, Palin opened up about her relationship with Duguay, saying that he makes her feel "safe and comfortable" and that she can share everything with him. "Ron is the first person that I've ever even talked to about a lot of this personal stuff. So it's been helpful and refreshing to have Ron to talk to about not just politics, because he's got more common sense in his little finger than the collective in D.C., but just about life," she added.

The two are still dating (as of publication) and in a July 2022 interview with News Nation, Duguay even hinted that he might ask Palin to marry him.

Sarah continued making Cameo videos

Even though Sarah Palin's political career was initially short-lived, she gained enough popularity to be remembered and continue with a career in the spotlight. Like most famous-ish people, Palin isn't shy to use her popularity to make an extra buck or two, so it should come as no surprise that she's on Cameo.

Yup, if you didn't know what to get your Republican family member for their birthday, you just found the perfect gift — a customized message from Sarah Palin herself. You can choose between various types of videos, so if you want her to give someone a pep talk for Christmas, that's also an option. If you're wondering whether it's worth it, you can just read the reviews (sure, there are some cranky people in there, but overall, it seems Palin is really good at making Cameo videos). It doesn't hurt that it pays well too (Palin charges $199 per video, FYI). In 2021, Business Insider reported that Palin made more money from Cameo videos that year than she would have if she'd been a congresswoman. The outlet reported that Palin earned $211,529 from her videos in 2021 and that House members earn around $37,529 less than that. That ain't half bad.

As of this writing, Palin's Cameo page is still live, which means she's still making those videos on the regular. With so many happy customers and the giant paycheck that comes with it, she would be crazy to give it up.

She has passionately defended Donald Trump amid his prosecution

It should come as no surprise that Sarah Palin is one of the people who thinks the various indictments against former President Donald Trump are balderdash. She's made some dangerous claims since Trump's legal woes started, and she might not even realize how incendiary they are. Speaking to former Fox News anchor Eric Bolling on Newsmax (via Media Matters for America), Palin said that Bolling's suggestion that the American people should get angry is justified. "We do need to rise up and take our country back," she told him, adding that the Republican National Committee wasn't angry enough. "They have the platform and yet they're too timid, bunch of frickin' Rinos [Republicans in name only] running the thing," Palin continued.

Palin called Trump's prosecution a "travesty." "I want to ask them [those conducting the investigation], what the heck, do you want us to be in civil war? Because that's what's going to happen," she said. "We're not going to keep putting up with this."

In April 2022, Palin told the New York Post that she would fully support Trump should he make another bid for the White House in 2024. "I think he should run again in 2024 because we need not just the media but politicians on both sides of the aisle held accountable. He's a master in holding people accountable," she said. When it comes to Trump taking accountability for his own actions, however, it's an entirely different story.

She is supporting Donald Trump's 2024 presidential campaign

Sarah Palin is a Donald Trump loyalist, and she's been backing his 2024 presidential bid all the way.

While making an appearance on the "Kimberly Guilfoyle Show," Palin touched on President Joe Biden's age and said that he was unfit to run for office again, adding that he was only doing it to keep him and his family out of jail. Many Democrats (and Republicans) argue that Trump is running for the same reason, but we'll digress. "We gotta get Trump back in there [the White House] to finish what he started," Palin said. She added that Trump is running for president because he is eager to serve the American people whereas Biden's mission to run for office again is "self-serving."

Palin also discussed Trump's Republican rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis announced his bid for the White House in May 2023, with NPR dubbing him Trump's "top rival." Palin disagrees with DeSantis' decision to run and is questioning his decision to turn against Trump (DeSantis and Trump used to be close). "It doesn't make sense that he's even running," she told Guilfoyle. Palin is of the opinion that no one else should even try to run against Trump, saying it's only "wasting time and resources." 

"Let's just get to work support[ing] Donald Trump getting back in there. It's going to be an uphill battle that he's going to have anyway in the general," she said.

Sarah still makes a point of voicing her opinion on politics and supporting the Republican Party

These days, Sarah Palin has taken on the role of a political commentator of sorts. In a tweet, Palin said she believes that Michelle Obama will be running as the Democratic presidential candidate in 2024, adding, "Biden's out." She's not the only one who's brought up the possibility of Obama running for office, but Obama has reiterated on countless occasions that she has no interest in ever making a bid for the White House.

Palin has also offered plenty of commentary on Ron De Santis' presidential bid, saying it's simply not the right time for him to run. "DeSantis doesn't need to [run]. I envision him as our president someday but not right now," she told Newsmax (via Fox News). "He should stay governor for a bit longer. He's young, you know." So, DeSantis is too young, and President Joe Biden is too old, but it appears that, at the ripe age of 77, Donald Trump is just old enough to be the perfect candidate, if you ask Palin, that is.

Palin also told Newsmax in so many words that she thought no one could stand against Trump in the upcoming election anyway. "When you talk about the specific people, the individual people who are looking at putting their hat in the ring ... they got a lot of guts thinking they're gonna go up against Trump," she said.