The Washington Times - September 3, 2008, 12:37PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Alaska residents have a reputation to uphold: Those that live in the state dubbed “The Last Frontier” are known for enjoying open space, living off the land and arguably being just a little bit tougher than their neighbors in the lower 48.

Maybe that’s why Alaskan delegates to the Republican National Convention aren’t giving it a second thought that despite having one of the top names on their party’s presidential ticket, they’ve been relegated to the cheap seats on the convention center floor.


“Oh, who cares?” said Pat Fink, a convention delegate and retired teacher from Fairbanks. “We’re Alaskans. We can take it.”

The Alaska delegation’s seating section is located diagonally left from the convention podium at the Xcel Energy Center, where Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is scheduled to deliver her much-anticipated keynote address Wednesday night.

But the section sits all the way to the back of the floor, just to the front of seating reserved for alternate delegates and others.

The location is a stark contrast to the seats usually reserved for supporters of a party’s top-ticket nominee, but Alaska delegates don’t seem to mind.

“Would we like to be up front? That’d be great,” said Dave Lewis, a first-time delegate from Eagle River. “But look, we’re here. We’re part of the process.”


Gary Emerling, reporter, The Washington Times