Dueling Endorsements in Orange-Osceola County's State Attorney Race
July 9, 2012 | WMFE - Both of the candidates who dropped out of the four-man race for Orange-Osceola County State Attorney have stepped forward to endorse one of the two candidates left. Former prosecutor Jeff Ashton will face off against current State Attorney Lawson Lamar in the August primaries.
Orlando attorney Ryan Williams ended his candidacy last week, and Monday he announced his support for Jeff Ashton. Williams says he made the move after hearing Ashton’s opponent, current State Attorney Lawson Lamar, make comments to the media that Williams read as blaming the victims in an ongoing murder case.
“Having known Mr. Ashton for awhile now, and knowing his passion for victims in the courtroom, I did not feel I could continue to go forward and risk voters having to choose between Jeff and I and maybe Mr. Lamar getting elected,” says Williams. “That was unacceptable to me.”
Lamar’s campaign spokesman Alan Byrd wouldn’t comment on Lamar’s statements to the media. He says Lamar prefers to run on his experience in office.
“When you look at the record of Lawson Lamar keeping us safe, it’s a[n] undisputed successful record,” says Byrd. “We’ve put more people in prison than Fort Lauderdale or Miami, we’ve reduced juvenile crime by more than two-thirds.”
Jorge Jaeger, the other candidate that withdrew from the race and the only Republican, endorsed Lamar Monday, saying that Ashton didn’t have the leadership experience for the job.
Since both Ashton and Lamar are Democrats, the winner will be chosen in the August primary.