Palin Choice Pleases Some Local Activists
The selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain's running mate is a savvy pick that should worry the Obama campaign, according to a couple of well-known local Republicans.
"My first reaction is that she's an attractive candidate that will give heartburn to the Obama camp," said former state Rep. Richard Morgan. "They'll be worried from now until the end of the election that women who feel slighted because (Sen.) Hillary (Clinton) was not picked will come over to our ticket."
McCain announced the pick Friday morning, just in time to snatch headlines away from Sen. Barack Obama's acceptance speech Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention.
Both Morgan and George Little, a longtime Republican activist and former candidate for governor, said they had no idea Palin -- who has been governor of Alaska for only two years -- would be the pick.
"I don't know anything about her," Little said. "Alaska is a long way from here."
Palin, who is pro-life, would be the first woman to run for vice president on a Republican ticket. Both Little and Morgan felt like part of the reason for Palin's selection was an effort to bring disenfranchised Clinton supporters into the Republican fold.
Morgan, a former co-speaker of the state House who is now running for state superintendent of public instruction, said the pick might be able to bring a lot of former Republican women who left the party for Bill Clinton in 1992 back into the fold.
"Since that time, we've been trying to get them back," Morgan said. "What better way to lead the charge? For the first time, we're nominating a woman to be a vice presidential candidate. I think that speaks wonders."
Palin's home state of Alaska has been brought up during a lot of energy discussions recently. According to Little, Palin is pro-drilling.
"Alaska is a state with a lot of resources," he said. "She can talk about drilling."
Morgan thought for a time that the pick would be Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but he knew that McCain would keep his choice close to the vest until he was ready to reveal it. He knows McCain strategist Charlie Black well from campaigns they both worked on in the past.
"I knew enough about McCain that they were going to keep it tight," he said. "It wouldn't be one that I thought or anyone else thought."
Little echoed those thoughts.
"He surprised everybody, didn't he?" Little said.
The McCain campaign has consistently attacked Obama for having little experience, but Palin has less experience than Obama. Morgan and Little said that didn't matter.
"McCain has been a senator for 27 years," Little said.
Morgan added, "McCain has a wealth of experience. She and McCain complement each other."
The surprise selection grabbed headlines from Obama, who was enjoying glowing press coverage following his DNC speech.
"Especially that choice," Little said. "Now the press has got to work hard. They've all got to fly to Alaska."
Morgan said, "It got people excited anyway. The bump from the Democratic Convention may have just been cut in half."
Contact Matthew Moriarty at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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