Palin's husband to visit Moorhead
Todd Palin, husband of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, will reach out to Moorhead outdoors enthusiasts Friday. Todd Palin, the self-described "First Dude" of Alaska, is a familiar figure among snowmobile buffs and other outdoors...
Todd Palin, husband of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, will reach out to Moorhead outdoors enthusiasts Friday.
Todd Palin, the self-described "First Dude" of Alaska, is a familiar figure among snowmobile buffs and other outdoorsy types, said Tom Steward, the St. Paul-based regional communications director for the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign.
Todd Palin will visit Moorhead with snowmobile racing partner Scott Davis, a native of Grand Rapids, Minn., who now lives in Alaska. The duo will also drop by Duluth, Grand Rapids and Bemidji on Thursday and Thief River Falls on Friday.
Palin won't dwell on campaign politics, Steward said, beyond reinforcing his wife and McCain's strong support for gun owner's rights. Still, his tour of the Iron Range and northwestern Minnesota reflects a belief in the McCain campaign that the Republican nominee still has a shot at carrying the state weeks before the election.
"Clearly, we feel we've got strong support among our sportsmen and sportswomen in the state," Steward said, citing a recent SurveyUSA poll that shows the presidential hopefuls in a dead heat among likely Minnesota voters. "We feel the Second Amendment is one of the defining issues of the race."
The time and place of Palin's Moorhead visit have yet to be determined.
Todd Palin has figured prominently in the news in recent days after an Alaskan legislative report released Friday faulted him for pressuring the state's former safety commissioner to dismiss Palin's former brother-in-law, a state trooper.
But among supporters with a passion for the outdoors, he is revered as a four-time Tesoro Iron Dog snowmobile racing champion and moose hunter. Steward said Palin was a hit at September's Hay Days Grass Drags, a Forest Lake, Minn., event marking the kickoff of the snowmobile racing season.
"Hundreds of people flocked to him because they know him as a champion snowmobile racer and an outdoors guy," Stewart said.
The vice presidential bid of Sarah Palin, who also snowmobiles and hunts, has energized hunting enthusiasts, some of whom remain skeptical of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's support for gun rights on the campaign trail.
Obama's campaign in Minnesota did not respond to requests for comment Sunday. The campaign has rolled out a Sportsmen for Obama network, vowing to protect hunters' rights and expand hunting and fishing habitats.
Dan Peliska, a self-described independent of Mountain Iron, Minn., got involved with a political campaign for the first time this summer through the Minnesota chapter of Sportsmen for McCain, whose national co-chairman is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
A hunter and rifle club treasurer who counts shooting as his third priority after his church and family, Peliska said he's not convinced by Obama's recent courtship of gun owners. He said he would try to attend Todd Palin's Grand Rapids appearance, though he would rather hear from Alaska's first lady herself: "I'd rather see Sarah or John, but if her husband can come, that's fine, too."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mila Koumpilova at (701) 241-5529