(Chip Somodevilla / Getty…)
Sarah Palin on Wednesday confirmed what many had expected: She will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.
The former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee broke the news to conservative talk show host Mark Levin and in a letter to her supporters.
“My decision is based upon a review of what common sense conservatives and independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office – from the nation’s governors to congressional seats and the presidency,” Palin wrote in the letter.
The decision ends months of speculation about Palin’s intentions, during which she teased the media and potential supporters with the prospect of a bid. She mounted bus tours in the Northeast and in Iowa and gave speeches at political events.
But there were few signs that she was ever serious about running. She failed to assemble a national campaign organization or a widespread fundraising organization. She appeared comfortable in her role as a highly paid commentator on Fox News—and there seemed little indication that the network was looking to sever ties with her as it did with other candidates such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
She faced several upcoming deadlines for ensuring that her name landed on early state ballots. And the recent acceleration of the 2012 primary calendar left her with a shrinking window for a bid.
In addition, recent polls were not encouraging, showing that an overwhelming number of Republicans did not favor a run. Conservatives who might have supported Palin were turning to other candidates such as businessman Herman Cain.
Palin, in the interview with Levin, said she would not mount a third-party bid, as some of her supporters have suggested.
"I would assume that a third party would guarantee" Obama's reelection, she said.
Her decision, combined with this week’s announcement by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to forgo a run, likely leaves the presidential field set, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry as the favorites to capture the nomination.
But Palin’s high media profile, combined with her fervent base of admirers, ensures that she’ll remain a player and a potential broker in next year’s election, even if she isn’t a formal candidate.
Perry, who stands to benefit from Palin's decision, quickly released a statement praising her.
“Sarah Palin is a good friend, a great American and a true patriot," Perry said. "I respect her decision and know she will continue to be a strong voice for conservative values and needed change in Washington.”