Locals react to Palin’s Tea Party keynote

By Sarah Vaccaro | gargoyle@flagler.edu
Illustration by Ellen Gambrell

Annette Cappella, chair of the St. Johns Democratic Party thinks the former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin needs more studying.

Palin announced that she is considering running for president in 2012, firing up Republicans, Democrats and Tea Partiers.

Palin gave Americans new things to criticize her about at the inaugural National Tea Party Convention where she was the keynote speaker.

“I certainly won’t vote for her,” Cappella said.

Cappella thinks the nearly three years between now and November 2012 is a long time and Palin is keeping her options open by staying in the spotlight.

Cappella said local Tea Party members are frustrated over the state of affairs and are looking for a leader. Many voices are angry and emotional.

Doug Wiles, Democrat and former Florida minority leader thinks Palin would be an interesting candidate.

“She attracts a lot of voters in the Republican Party and she is one of those certain people in politics who are polarizing,” Wiles said. “She appeals to those voters who are fed up with Republicans and Democrats, but she’s going to need to be appealing to the minority of people who go to vote.”

Republican and St. Johns County school board member Beverly Slough doesn’t have a firm opinion.

“Palin is showing herself pretty strong but she has growing to do,” Slough said. “She admitted her areas that needed a lot of work such as foreign policy and a few critical issues but she is trying to prepare herself well.”

Lonny Awerdick, former Democratic Executive Committee chair and current member of the DEC Steering Committee, hopes Palin runs because she would be the easy beat.

“My reaction was she can’t read a speech effectively, much less write one,” Awerdick said. “The speech contained no new GOP solutions and was filled with attack lines that do nothing to further efforts for bipartisan solutions. She is truly incompetent.”

Local Democrat and registered representative of Florida, Charlie Stevens, who also owns St. Johns Financial Planning, didn’t know what to think about Palin running for president in 2012. Stevens doesn’t think Palin can win with her current approach.

“Palin needs to appeal to a small group of people and change her approach and her platform of beliefs,” Stevens said. “She needs to get her act together by 2012.”

Stevens sees the Tea Party movement being disjointed.

Republican Skeeter Key and director of academic advising and retention at Flagler College, doesn’t think Palin would be a good presidential candidate in 2012. Key also thinks Palin was not a good candidate for vice president.

“Palin would be better running for senator of Alaska,” Key said.

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