A Leader of Obama's Grassroots Army

How a political novice became a linchpin of the Democrat's campaign-and a part of history

Bryan Meltz for TIME

Gunn used his skills and experience in South Carolina to deliver 8 of every 10 black votes for Obama in the primary.

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...

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