It's the same Ken Keechl who was just on the ballot last year, running in District 7, in south Broward. Now he's running in District 4 to the north, the seat he held before.
Keechl said he loved his job on the County Commission. He lost it to Chip LaMarca in 2010.
"Anywhere you have a budget of over $3 billion and you'remaking decisions that affect your family, your neighbor, whether it's the airport, seaport, it's a wonderful thing,'' Keechl said. "It's more like running a big business.''The seat covers parts or all of Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hillsboro Beach, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lighthouse Point, Oakland Park, Pompano Beach, and Sea Ranch Lakes and has more beach in it than any other County Commission district.
LaMarca is the only Republican on the nine-member commission. His chances at being re-elected were harmed during redistricting, though.
His colleagues re-drew his district lines to include more Democrats. The district is now 41 percent Democrat, by "active voter" registration, and 32 percent Republican. The remaining are registered to no party or some other party.
Keechl isn't the only openly gay Democrat running for the seat. As we told you about on Friday, Christopher Warnig is running, as well.
That means Keechl will have a primary candidate to defend against and spend money fighting, even though Warnig is a political unknown with a pending legal case for impersonating a police officer, and a prior charge of the same.
"I haven’t met this gentleman,'' Keechl said of Warnig. "He’s extremely young. He has quite a checkered past. ... It would not surprise me if Commissioner LaMarca's people tried to throw somebody in to give me a primary because they know it's going to be a difficult race for him.''
I'll ask LaMarca if that's how Warnig got into this race. I'll let you know what he says.
Keechl said he announced this early because people have been asking him if he planned to run, and why he hadn't announced. He said he's been asked to run for state House or Senate, but the County Commission is where he wants to be.
He'll be reminding folks that LaMarca voted against regionalized 911 dispatch via a higher property tax, a vote Keechl said lacked leadership. He also criticized LaMarca's votes to give tourist tax dollars to projects that aren't related to beach renourishment. And he said he was shocked when LaMarca voted against Kristin-Jacobs-led Regional Climate Action Plan last fall. LaMarca objected to it because he said its cost had not been properly analyzed.