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Barack Obama backers in Hawaii try to extend their reach

October 15, 2008 | 11:59 am

What to do when you live on the sidelines of this year's presidential race? When you reside in a state where the winner of its electoral votes long has been such a foregone conclusion that the candidates rarely visit and the local operatives merely go through the motions?

For some Californians, as The Times Kate Linthicum recently detailed, the answer is to travel to nearby Nevada -- fiercely contested political turf -- to "try to swing the Silver State blue" (i.e., help win it for Barack Obama).

Here's the surprise, though. Residents of a state that doesn't share a border with Nevada -- indeed, one that doesn't abut any state -- are engaged in a similar mission.

The Honolulu Advertiser reports that Hawaiians supporting Obama -- a native son -- are politicking Nevadans to do the same, drawing on "deep cultural and tourism connections" between the two states.

Those links? Says the newspaper: "Asians, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders make up about 6.5% of Nevada's population, or about 160,000 people. There is a substantial Island cultural presence because of the many Hawaii transplants who moved (to Nevada) for jobs and the Hawaii residents who come ... regularly to gamble and shop."

Certain geographic constraints still apply, of course. According to the Advertiser, most of the Hawaiians touting Obama content themselves with making phone calls to Nevada, rather than journeying there.

-- Don Frederick