The very first time I visited the United States I began the trip in Anchorage, Alaska, So I've always found it strange when many Americans have talked as though it doesn't exist (e.g. the idea that Chicago is in "the midwest" when Alaska stretches the geographic west a long way). Maybe with the choice of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate that will change.
She is certainly a bold choice, as Juneau is almost as far away from the Beltway as you can get, and both her home town of Wasilla and Fairbanks, where she was inaugerated as governor, are even further. As a political maverick herself, having taken on both party establishments in Alaska, she makes the perfect complement to John McCain. What a contrast to a Democrat ticket claiming to be "change you can believe in" and made up exclusively of Wasington DC insiders.
And yes she's the second woman to be a major party nominee, and the first on a ticket that can actually win. She didn't get there through a political marriage, she has risen on the back of her own merits. This is a real way of cracking the glass ceiling and is a true victory for all women in politics.