Anton Gunn is a first-time delegate to the Democratic National Convention from South Carolina, and he has never so much as watched a political convention on television before. Even Barack Obama’s famous keynote address in 2004 didn’t grab his attention (he sheepishly admits he still hasn’t listened to it). In fact, until two years ago, when Gunn ran for a state house seat in Columbia and lost by 298 votes, he’d never been involved in electoral politics.
Obama’s candidacy has brought a wave of new voters and volunteers into the Democratic Party, but even among them, Gunn, 35, stands out. In addition to being a Democratic delegate and a candidate once again for the state legislature, he now has a line on his political résumé few can match: political director for the Obama campaign in South Carolina, the state that more than any other launched the Illinois Senator’s successful candidacy.
You know, I don’t think I would have singled out Anton as one of those people brought into politics like Obama. I saw a number of such folks back in the state primaries, and some of them were real novices. Anton was relatively NEW to politics, but he was already in it before he met Obama. That doesn’t take away from his achievement helping Obama win the primary, a job for which he was quite inexperienced.
I guess this sort of exposure is kind of hard to match if you’re David Herndon, Mr. Gunn’s opponent in November. Of course, it remains to be seen to what extent TIME magazine readers are a factor.