UPDATE: Palin resigning as Alaska governor

WASILLA, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday she is resigning from office at the end of the month, raising speculation that she would focus on a run for the White House in the 2012 race.

The former Republican vice presidential candidate made the surprise announcement from her home in suburban Wasilla on Friday morning. She said she would step down July 26 but didn’t announce her plans.

“Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional Lame Duck status in this particular climate would just be another dose of politics as usual, something I campaigned against and will always oppose,” Palin said in a statement released by her office.

“It is my duty to always protect our great state. With that in mind, my family and I determined that it is best to make a difference this summer, and I am willing to change things, so that this administration, with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future, can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success,” she said.

Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be inaugurated at the governor’s picnic in Fairbanks at the end of the month, Palin spokesman Dave Murrow said.

Palin was first elected in 2006 on a populist platform. But her popularity has waned as she waged in partisan politics following her return from the presidential campaign. Her term would have ended in 2010.

The Associated Press