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Election

Meet the Candidates: Florida's Ken Keechl

Keechl

This Broward County lawyer is hoping to defeat a climate-denying, Trump-supporting Republican for a seat on the state House of Representatives.

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The Victory Fund is working to elect dozens of LGBT candidates to higher office and we're featuring the stories of several of these men and women as the election nears.

Ken Keechl faces a tough battle for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. The Republican candidate, George Moraitis, is the incumbent politician in a state legislature dominated by the GOP.

However, Keechl is no stranger to the political arena. The out politician made history as Florida's first out county commissioner in 2006. He then followed this accomplishment by becoming the county's first openly gay county mayor in 2009. If Keechl wins this November, he will become the second openly gay legislator in the history of the Sunshine State.

Prior to holding public office, Keechl practiced law. A graduate of Florida State University and FSU College of Law -- where he served as editor of the school's law review -- Keechl went on to have a distinguished legal career, rising through the ranks to become an equity partner at the law firm Brinkley Morgan. He is now a sole practitioner at Ken Keechl Law PA, where he focuses on commercial and land-use litigation, as well as pro bono work.

Keechl is a long-time resident of Broward County, which contains Fort Lauderdale. He and his husband have lived there for over two decades. In October, the Sun-Sentinel -- the county's newspaper -- endorsed Keechl over Moraitis, noting how the latter backed a string of "legal loser" legislation this year like voting to defund Planned Parenthood and drug test people on welfare.

The newspaper also criticized Moraitis's "lack of backbone," as evidenced by his decision not to renounce his support of Donald Trump after the Republican presidential candidate made deplorable comments about women that led many other high-ranking members of the GOP like John McCain to distance themselves.

"As a Democrat, Keechl would be in the minority, but Moraitis is unwilling to leverage his role in the majority and unwilling to acknowledge that his party's presidential candidate is reprehensible and dangerous," the Sun-Sentinel wrote of Moraitis, who, unlike his Democratic rival, supports looser gun restrictions even in the wake of tragedies like the Pulse shooting in Orlando. Moraitis also denies the realities of climate change, even as storms batter Florida's infrastructure.

"It's going to take leadership to get the region prepared. Keechl supports an aggressive state response," the paper concludes.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.