Lawton_The race for the White House is now heating up. Senator John McCain has picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate on the Republican ticket. The duo made their first appearance together Friday morning in Ohio. Palin is a self-styled "hockey mom" and has been described as a political reformer. She has five children, the youngest has Downs Syndrome. She has served on a city council, been a mayor, and was elected Alaska's governor in 2006. " To serve as vice president beside such a man would be the privilege of a lifetime, and it's fitting that this trust has been given to me 88 years, almost to the day, after the women of America first gained the right to vote," she said in acceptance of the nomination.
Before Friday, many had never even heard of Sarah Palin. So far, local Republicans like what they are learning about her, but Democrats feel that she should never have been chosen. Comanche County GOP member Ed Peterson, like many Republicans, was expecting Governors Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty to round out the ticket. "This was certainly a surprise, and since then, like everybody on both parties probably were trying to do a lot of catch up research on who she is and what her background is, it's very exciting," he said.
Despite the fact that Palin is a woman, Peterson says she brings a different dynamic to the presidential race. "With three senators in the race already, they don't really have executive experience," he said. "Executive means running a business, running a state, and that executive experience is, I think, so key to balancing a ticket."
Local Democrats do not think that less than two years in the governor's office qualifies Palin to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. "I'm still trying to sort in my mind, why in the world he thinks she would be qualified to be President of the United States," said Democratic activist Ken Sue Doerfel. "God forbid if anything happened to him." After all eyes being on Senator Barack Obama, Democrats are questioning the McCain camp's motive for picking Palin. "You don't pick a Vice Presidential candidate to shake things up," said Doerfel. "This is an insult! It's like ‘a woman at any cost.' As a woman I think it's an insult to most of us."
Petersen says that Palin is a union member, a hunter, and has helped to regulate Alaska's powerful oil industry. Because of those things, and others, he says he believes she will connect well with Oklahoma voters. Palin will be the first woman the Republican Party has nominated to run for Vice President on a major party ticket. She will also be the first Alaskan to be on the ticket for either party. Republican Party delegates will vote on her nomination at their convention next week in Saint Paul.
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