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Will the lone R on Broward Commission face a rematch?

Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, the lone Republican on the nine-member board, could face a rematch against Democrat Ken Keechl in 2014.

LaMarca filed for re-election Friday in District 4 which spans parts of multiple cities in northeast Broward including Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach. 

Keechl told the Miami Herald in an email Monday "I'm seriously considering running for my old seat. A lot of people are encouraging me to run for Broward County Commission District 4 or House seat 93 [held by State. Rep. George Moraitis (R-Fort Lauderdale)]. I'll decide before the summer is over."

The redistricted seat is ripe for a Democratic challenger because it leans about seven points Democratic, up from five. This has been the one swing district on the commission in recent years: Keechl beat Republican and former state legislator Jim Scott in 2006 and became the county's first openly gay commissioner.

While the Democratic wave helped Keechl in 2006, LaMarca benefitted from a Republican wave in 2010 that also elected U.S. Rep. Allen West whose district included northeast Broward. 

LaMarca's grassroots campaign was one of those rare Broward races where the underfunded candidate wins: he raised about one-quarter of Keechl's $600,000 warchest. But Keechl's big bucks were part of his undoing: he was criticized for lavish campaign spending. 

Last year, Keechl lost a bid to return to the commission in another district. He moved into a house that he and his partner own in District 7. Keechl said if he decides to challenge LaMarca he will move back to District 4. According to the county charter, a commissioner "must be a resident of the particular district upon election."

LaMarca, a former Broward GOP chair, will have to emphasize non-partisan issues to win the race. He says he will focus on the county budget and topics such as maintaining libraries and beach renourishment. 

"We saved two beach libraries and actually improved them when they were in danger of being removed," he said, referring to Galt Ocean mile branch and a library in Pompano Beach. 

The big unknown for both LaMarca and Keechl is whether Broward voters will get excited about any of the statewide candidates on the ballot to lead to better turnout than the dismal 41 percent from 2010.