OBAMA FOR AMERICA VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS
Barack Obama is shown in an undated photos with his grandparents, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, in New York City, when Obama was a student at Columbia University, graduating in 1983.
Favorite son’s success warms local supporters
Obama sends his aloha
» Obama claims presidential nomination
As he claimed the Democratic nomination for president, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., dedicated his win to his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who raised him in Honolulu.
Many speculate that with Obama having such strong ties with Hawaii that he may visit if he receives the presidential nomination.
Though Obama will not be the formal Democratic nominee until the national convention in August in Denver, last night Obama and party officials said the nomination was his.
"Thank you to my grandmother, who helped raise me and is sitting in Hawaii somewhere right now because she can't travel," Obama said at the lectern in St. Paul, Minn. "She poured everything she had into me and ... helped to make me the man I am today. Tonight is for her."
The campaign raises Hawaii to new levels of political interest as a man born, raised and educated in Hawaii is now the Democrats' presumptive standard-bearer.
"I will be glued to the screen and today I shed tears of joy," said Bettye Jo Harris, a civil rights worker, 46-year Hawaii resident and one of Obama's first African-American supporters in the state.
"I listened to his speech tonight, and I thought of my parents. I never thought I would live to see the day," Harris said.
Although the local Obama campaign is not sure whether their candidate will be able to fit in a Hawaii vacation, Obama himself has said he wanted to visit after he won the nomination.
Harris thinks that a stop here would resonate across the country because it would show others Hawaii's unique multiracial culture.
"This is the kind of place where you meet all kinds of people every time you go out the door," Harris said.
"Here, everybody brings a gift to the table. We have five or six ethnic groups running for office all the time. ... it is part of our life and our fabric.
"Barack grew up here, he understands that, he has seen it here," Harris said.
The local Obama campaign started in December 2006 and at the time was one of the first "draft Obama" campaigns in the country.
Chuck Freedman, an Obama campaign spokesman locally, said Obama's candidacy has made political history.
"Most people thought we could not win, but we have made it," he said. "This speaks volumes about the country and our potential."