South Florida LGBT politicians are beginning to assemble the necessary parts for their respective campaigns.
Ken Keechl, a former Broward County Mayor, hosted a fundraiser recently at a Fort Lauderdale coffee shop. Keechl, who has lost his last three campaigns for elected office in Broward County, is challenging incumbent Florida Rep. George Moraitis (R-Fort Lauderdale) for the district 93 seat. But first, Keechl, an attorney, must defeat Doug Oberman, a 22-year-old Florida Atlantic University student in the Democratic primary Aug. 30.
“He (Keechl) can win if he gets out of his ivory tower and knocks on doors,” said Michael Albetta, a longtime Broward political operative.
Others are not so sure.
“I’d rather lose with Doug,” said Percy Johnson, past president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Democratic Club. “If Moraitis can barely beat a college kid that looks bad. Those old Republicans would not be happy about that.”
Meanwhile, in Orlando, Carlos Guillermo Smith qualified by petition to run for the Florida House of Representatives in district 49. Guillermo Smith, an out gay Latino man, also received the endorsement of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
“While serving in the Florida House, I witnessed first-hand how Carlos can get things done. He knows his district and he understands the issues facing our state. Carlos is a real progressive leader for all of Florida,” said Kriseman, in a news release.