As State Dems Beckon, Ken Keechl Keeping All Options Open

Ken Keechl


The Sirens of the state Democratic Party are calling Ken Keechl

Like Odysseus, Keechl has put wax in his ears so he can’t hear them calling:  Run for state House.  Run for state Senate.

He is sailing on to re-election to the county commission.

But the Sirens are hard to resist. So Keechl is keeping the door to his political future wide open.

That door could lead to the state House or state Senate. 

“You never say never. It’s a long time until 2010, Keechl says.

I had been hearing for months that Keechl had a bright future beyond the Broward County Government Center.  The Democratic Sirens called me, too.

So I checked it out with him at his new digs the Kopelowitz Ostrow law firm in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“I would be surprised if I would ever run for (Ellyn Bogdanoff’s House) seat, he said.

Then he added, “You never say never in this game.

He noted that Gov. Charlie Crist’s departure from Tallahassee has opened opportunities all the way to Broward.

“Who knows where all the dominoes will fall? Keechl said. “Who knows who the candidates will be?

“Things could change.  I don’t even know who’s running against me yet.

The state Democrats think a lot of Keechl.  They are including Keechl’s name in a poll of possible 2010 candidates.  

“I don’t know if it is for state House or state Senate, he says.
Keechl would make a great candidate.

He has shown the ability to gather significant support from all factions of the Democratic Party and the business community, too.   He proved to be a terrific fund raiser — $230,350 in donations in his 2010 re-election’s first three months ending March 31.

But Bogdanoff’s district is about 5 percent more Republican than Keechl’s current northeast Broward commission seat.  It would be an uphill battle to challenge her, especially since she has shown the ability to raise huge sums.

Bogdanoff is considering moving on to run for something else.  State Sen. Jeff Atwater, R-Palm Beach Gardens, is looking at leaving his senate seat, too.

Any moves by those Republicans would make a Tallahassee race more inviting.  

“You never say never.

That was the third time Keechl used that phrase in a four-minute conversation.  You decide whether that is significant.


10 Responses to “As State Dems Beckon, Ken Keechl Keeping All Options Open”

  1. dolphin d says:

    rumor has it Keechl’s boyfriend just bought a house in the north part of Atwater’s district. You forgot to mention his involvment with Livoti and McNerney in the Mutual Benefits mess. his boyfriend is a relator in a bad market…no way he walks from the 90k a year as Commish and his no show job as a lawyer to take a lower paying job as rep or senator.

    FROM BUDDY: Well, he was at his job as a lawyer when I talked to him.

  2. Thomas T says:

    Like the writer said, Keechl have proved an ability to reach out beyond the gay community and be embraced by a wider group in Broward. That is probably why everybody wants him to run for higher office. He is not a gay commissioner. He is a commissioner who happens to be gay.

  3. Broward voter says:

    All you haters – especially from the GLBT community – back off Keechl! He worked hard, he paid for it, he does a great job on the commission… he deserves the recognition!

  4. bob sernoff says:

    Truth is, there is no reason for him to leave a safe seat. The D’s want him because he has $250K to fund a state rep race which is huge, but there is too much risk and little reward to have him to go Tallahassee and be in the minority. Agree?

  5. Coral Ridge says:

    He was at his other job!?!

    Keechl campaigned on the fact he would be our “full-time commissioner” after Jim Scott tried some shananagins with the Coral Ridge golf course with HIS second job.

    Am I senile, or is Keechl breaking his biggest promise?

  6. Sick Of It says:

    I’m sick of folks judging every gay politician by his gayness. If he was Jewish, would that be dragged into these posts.

  7. admin says:


    In the interest of accuracy, below is an article from The Miami Herald, October 26, 2006. You are right. Keechl is quoted as saying he would be a full time commissioner. However, the economy has dramatically changed since then and I don’t think voters would hold him to that promise.


    Scott, a former longtime state legislator and a six-year county commissioner, has raised more than $300,000.

    In his first bid for public office, Keechl has raised about $45,000 and loaned himself about $125,000. He is past president of the Dolphin Democrats, a gay and lesbian political organization.

    Keechl says he’s running because he is concerned about increased government spending and a lack of affordable housing. The county should create a Division of Housing, he said, with a dedicated revenue source.

    To save money, Keechl suggests eliminating some capital projects, but wants public input before he specifies which ones.

    “I’m outraged with regard to property taxes being levied against us and uncontrolled spending at the county level,” he said.

    Scott has tried to lower taxes, but has at times been outnumbered. This year he wanted to cut $40 million from the budget but the commission settled on $20 million.

    “I still don’t think it’s enough,” Scott said. “I voted against the millage assessment.”

    To spark construction of more affordable housing, Scott calls for financial incentives, such as tax credits for developers.

    Keechl has heavily criticized Scott for his role in a proposal to build luxury homes on a golf course in their Fort Lauderdale Coral Ridge neighborhood.

    The owners of American Golfers Club have proposed building homes on what was the city’s only public golf course. Proceeds from the sale of lots would pay to build a new clubhouse and fitness facility at Coral Ridge Country Club and redesign that members-only golf course.

    Scott says he has a minority ownership interest and plans to recuse himself when the project comes before the County Commission. He says he doesn’t know how much money he stands to gain.

    But Keechl says Scott’s financial involvement is inappropriate.

    “Even if he recused himself the other eight commissioners would be responsible for voting against his financial interests,” he said.

    Scott has been endorsed by the Broward County Teachers Union, a firefighters organization, a police group and the AFL-CI0. Keechl has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, Service Employees International Union and the National Organization for Women.

      Both candidates are lawyers, but Keechl says he would devote himself full time to the County Commission if elected.

    Scott is a registered lobbyist on behalf of HCA Healthcare and AutoNation.

  8. lets remember says:

    Keechel got elected because he was in the right place at the right time. I give him props for stepping up to run against Scott. Anyone who had a D next to their name could beat an R in 2006. Bogdanoff only beat the clown Chiari but a couple of percentage points and he was a nobody. Look around gays cant win elections, he knows this and that is why he will never leave that seat and will never get elected to anything thereafter.

    FROM BUDDY: Actually, Bogdanoff beat Chiari by close to a landslide — 59.1 to 40.9 percent.

  9. Hard district for Dems says:

    There’s now a roughly 7000 person gap in favoring Rs over Ds in District 91 just in Broward.

    Buddy, Bogdanoff beat Chiari by roughly 9 points in 2006. Your figures are correct for 2008. He actually received more votes in 2008 than any Dem has ever received in that district, so the question is whether the combination of an open seat, possible lower turnout among Rs, and a decent media budget could push Keechl over the top. Tough to say. Even if he did, he may not survive a challenge in 2012 with higher R turnout for a presidential election.

    FROM BUDDY: Yes, I was writing about 2008. She came close to a landslide in a Democratic year. That makes it more impressive.
    I don’t think there will be a low turnout by Republicans in 2010. Every Cabinet seat will be open and there will be a U. S. Senate and governor’s race. The Rs will be voting.

  10. Blue Man Scoop says:

    The fact that Chiari is known to the voters is both a plus and a minus to him.

    It will be a tough race for any candidate (R or D) who doesn’t understand the nuances of each neighborhood, and the common traits and interests that tie them all together. The plus is that he can profess to be an expert in that very complex district, which will muscle out any primary opposition. The minus is that the more people meet him the less they relate him and the less they feel that he would represent their beliefs in Tallahassee.

    Frankly, the time for us to take this seat back is 2012. If we take it back in 2010, then I would expect it to get cut out during redistricting.