Republicans weigh in on VP pick

Published 11:11 am Saturday, August 30, 2008

In a perhaps surprise move, Arizona Sen. John McCain announced Friday that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will serve as his presidential running mate in the 2008 election.

Noting her skill as the executive of the state of Alaska, McCain made Palin the first woman to appear on a Republican presidential ticket. The 44-year-old, first-term governor is a mother of five, with a strong anti-abortion record and high state approval rating.

“She really does have all the qualities without the baggage,” said Cindy Stevens, an Austin resident and registered Republican.

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Stevens said Palin’s family profile, which includes a Native American husband, son with Down Syndrome and son deployed to Iraq, makes her particularly approachable and appealing.

“There’s so much there, they can’t say she can’t relate to people,” Stevens said.

Both she and former Republican state House member Dan Dorman weren’t surprised by the pick, saying that McCain made a savvy choice considering the more obvious options, which included Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

“I don’t know if I’m anymore or less surprised than any pick,” Dorman, of Albert Lea, said, adding, “I think it’s a good pick.”

Dorman said he especially appreciated Palin’s political position as a Washington outsider, a characterization neither McCain or DFL hopefuls Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Joe Biden can credibly claim, he said.

“I think it is truly someone who is outside the Washington beltway…I think that’s very valuable,” Dorman stated.

McCain made his announcement the Friday before the National Republican Convention Monday through Thursday in St. Paul. There, he will likely accept the Republican nomination.

It also came one day after Obama, of Illinois, officially became the Democratic presidential nominee at the DFL convention in Denver, Colo. He announced that Biden would be his running mate Friday, Aug. 22.

The General Election is Nov. 4.