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Hawaii, Alaska and the presidential race: History will be made

August 30, 2008 |  8:29 pm

The obvious historical implications of John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as a running mate, hot on the heels of Barack Obama officially securing the Democratic presidential nomination, were quickly and duly noted: One way or the other, a demographic breakthrough will occur in this year's election.

Less noted was this: For the first time since they joined the union not quite 50 years ago, the nation's two most far-flung -- and youngest -- states each have a horse in the White House race.

Obama's native Hawaii had been a state slightly less than two years when he was born there on Aug. 4, 1961 (its admission date: Aug. 21, 1959).

Palin isn't an Alaskan by birth, but she came pretty darn close -- she was an infant when her family moved there from Idaho in 1964. At that point, it had been a state for about five and a half years (admission date: Jan. 3, 1959).

Either way, a milestone will be achieved for a state never before represented at the highest levels of the executive branch.

-- Don Frederick