Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will step down from her position as the state's chief executive effective July 26th, according to a statement from spokesman Dave Murrow. Her office declined to provide a reason for Palin's decision, though speculation is swirling around the possibility that she's looking to begin laying the groundwork for a 2012 run for the White House.
Palin- a surprise pick to serve as the Republican Party's 2008 Vice Presidential nominee alongside Arizona Senator John McCain- first took office in Anchorage in December of 2006. Upon resignation, she will have served two and a half years in office.
Palin has been touted as 2012 contender for the Republican nomination from the moment McCain plucked her from relative obscurity on the national political scene. But despite assumptions that the former mayor of Wasilia, Alaska would seek national office, the assumption comes as a major surprise. Here, just six months into President Barack Obama's first term, Palin would be far ahead of any other Republican contender if she were indeed to begin planning a bid for the White House. In the 2008 cycle, presidential contenders only began declaring their candidacies after the 2006 midterm elections, many of them much later than that. The 2010 midterms are still 16 months away.