Questions arise about Palin's next move

By Curt Autry - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - The former Vice Presidential candidate says she not only won't seek re-election, she also plans to resign at the end of the month.

But her hasty departure raises one big question, what will she do next?

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin made the surprise announcement that she's stepping down on July 26th and handing the office to her Lieutenant Governor.

On her way out she took a swipe at her political enemies.

"Over the past nine months I've been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations," she said. "And this political absurdity, the politics of personal destruction. Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight."

The former GOP Vice Presidential candidate said she was stepping down because she decided not to run for a second term.

And didn't want to leave Alaska with a "lame duck" Governor.

But she hinted at a lot more.

"You don't hear much of the good stuff in the press anymore," she said.

Palin vaulted onto the national stage last August when she became John McCain's Republican running mate.

Her homespun ways made her an instant sensation but she also stirred up plenty of controversy, as she tussled with the media and Washington establishment.

Now America's most famous hockey mom is at a career crossroads.

"There are two thoughts, one that she wants to set herself up for 2012 to take off for two plus years to raise money raise her profile and more importantly get away from Alaska," said NBC Deputy Political Director Mark Murray. "But then again, very well could be she wants to get out of politics altogether."

An undeniable power-player and GOP short-lister in 2012 unless she decides otherwise.

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