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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Palin Speaks to the Safari Club

Our chapter on elections and campaigns details the many things that presidential candidates must do. Sarah Palin recently spoke at the Safari Club International dinner in Reno, Nevada. Why would a potential contender make such an appearance? The Reno Gazette-Journal reports:

Political science professor Fred Lokken of Truckee Meadows Community College said he considers Palin’s Safari Club appearance a “coup” for Reno and an “excellent” move for her.

“It’s always been a who’s who of some of the prominent conservative Republicans, so frankly for her either to get the invite or be able to wrangle the invite, it really helps her as she tries to position for 2012 and after,” he said. “This is one of the places to the seen.”

Palin’s visit will carry momentum beyond Reno since the Safari Club event draws visitors from afar, many of them wealthy.

“You come to one place, you talk for 50 minutes and hopefully create a buzz as they all go back to their respective states,” Lokken said. “They are probably all known, if not prominent, in their party circles back in those states.”

Palin’s appearance came as potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates stake out their ground.

“Being able to come to a group like this (gives) some street cred that might help her to sort of reestablish or bolster her efforts at building a campaign for 2012,” Lokken said. “It’s a guns rights place. They are huge in the Second Amendment. Her whole connection to Alaska probably makes her one of the most logical people they have had in years.”

“Charlton Heston made a lot of sense because he was a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association when he came here. They are always looking for people who have that really more pronounced connection, especially to gun rights.”

The organization is a good example of interest group advocacy, as its website explains:

Since 2000, SCI has spent $140 million on protecting the freedom to hunt through policy advocacy, litigation and education for federal and state legislators to ensure hunting is protected for future generations. The passion of SCI members is reflected in the doubling of expenditures in the last decade to accomplish these goals.

Through direct involvement and partnerships with like-minded organizations, SCI has become a political force in Washington, D.C. and other capitals around the world. Influence has been enhanced through strategic responses to issues to guarantee the hunter’s voice is heard, development of the largest hunter-drivien Political Action Committee that supports only pro-sportsman candidates and retains influential and effective lobbyists.

Our litigation staff, combined with the SCI Legal Task Force Committee, has engaged the anti sustainable-use community in federal and state courtrooms around the country. Development of a Hunting Legal Education course has further extended SCI’s reach to protect hunting opportunities in U.S. Courts.

Advocacy and education depend on effective, strategic and timely communication of issues to members and non-members. Our Safari Magazine and Safari Times newspaper publications have been recognized for their world class articles on hunting, firearms and identifying threats to our hunting heritage. The “In the Crosshairs” e-newsletter provides breaking news to more than 45,000 members on a weekly basis. SCI’s annual convention is widely viewed as the largest gathering of hunters and the hunting industry in the world attracting more than 22,000 attendees and dedicated SCI members.