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Blue America Welcomes Kenneth Quinnell

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Ken Quinnell is running for a Florida State Committee position. Many of us feel like we know him, not because we’ve gone down to Florida to meet Ken but because we read his blog, the Florida Progressive Coalition blog.

Aside from being a blogger and activist, Ken is a political science professor, a poet, a fiction writer, a husband and a dad (3 young sons). And he lives in a state with one of the most dysfunctional local Democratic parties anywhere. He means to do something about it.

Although Obama won in Florida (4,143,957 to 3,939,380), Ken was disappointed because he– like many of us– felt Democrats could have had a far better election day. If you count defeated ex-Republican Tim Mahoney as a Democrat, there was only one net congressional pickup (with Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson both ousting GOP incumbents), and there was just one net gain in the state legislature.

And a number of great candidates that many of you are familiar with– Joe Garcia, Annette Taddeo, Doug Tudor– lost. One of the key reasons for these losses, from what I can tell, is the incessant infighting in the state party. There is still significant stranglehold on many local parties by the good old boy network and there are factions in the state party who are constantly undercutting other Dems both in the party and electorally.

Ken is running for state committee man in the hope of changing some of this. He’s running, in part, on a platform that stresses his experience with blogging, BlogTalkRadio and other Netroots groups and tools. His opponent will be familiar to those of you who paid attention to the primary mess in Florida– Jon Ausman. Many in Florida think Ausman is a symbol of all that is wrong with the party. He is constantly involved in undercutting other party members to further his own agenda and if you watched his presentation to the DNC, you could tell that he’s much more about promoting Jon Ausman than he is about moving America or Florida forward. He’s still suing the DNC over the primary and he endorsed Hillary Clinton after Barack Obama won the nomination in the name of "unity." It will be a tough race, but Ken is picking up some pretty big endorsements from local elected officials that give him a legitimate shot.

Ken’s been busy; he’s the president and founder of the Florida Democratic Party Netroots Coalition, the adviser to the Tallahassee Community College Democrats, president of the Leon County Young Democrats, a Leon County Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman and the chairman of the Leon Democratic Party Rapid Response Committee– above and beyond being a blogger and online activist since 1998.

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Howie Klein

Howie Klein

Howie Klein spent much of his life wandering around the world living in places like Afghanistan, Nepal, Holland and Morocco. He moved backed to America when Richard Nixon resigned and promptly helped start the first punk rock radio show in the country and then a DIY punk rock record label. His adventures in the music business ended a couple of years ago when he retired as president of Reprise Records. He began blogging almost immediately, starting Down With Tyranny. Jane taught him html while he held one of her dogs at a party. He is a raw foodist, lives in L.A., swims and hikes every day, thinks Howard Dean could be a president as great as FDR and will never be completely happy until Bush and Cheney are behind bars.

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