Miss America Teresa Scanlan, left, in Las Vegas before her crowning in January. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

“Besides the fact that I’m, like ,30-something years older than her?” said Scanlon, 51. (Scanlan, 18, is the youngest Miss A in decades.) “And married for 30 years?”

Well, there’s that.

No mere coincidence, though: Scanlon said hearing news of her near-namesake’s crowning in January inspired her to compete, not long after surgery for a pituitary tumor. Her mission, naturally, is to encourage others to take command of their health, a message that helped her beat women 15 or 20 years younger for the tiara. “I have tried to stay in great shape,” she said, “but I also have something important to do for the people of Maryland.”

Read earlier: Miss Nebraska crowned Miss America, 1/16/11

Miss America Teresa Scanlan, future politician, brings her tiara to Washington, 3/30/11