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We went on a date with the state attorney candidates

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Lawson Lamar

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Jeff Ashton

Get your head out of the Olympics for a minute, friends. Tuesday brings us another chance to exercise the most solemn of democratic freedoms afforded by this great nation of ours (as long as you haven't been kicked off the voter rolls as an alleged illegal). It's time to vote!
What's that you say? "Election day isn't until November and I have to get my hair done so if you could please pipe down and let me get on with doing what it is that I do, I would be much obliged."

We sympathize. Due to a policy dust-up known as the Great Yawn of Redistricting, many Democrats and Republicans in this year's partisan down-ticket stakes don't even have challengers to fend off in this election, so who the fuck cares? By a twist of fetid fate, though, there is one huge race people are watching. It also happens to be the least interesting because it involves musty old people going on about prosecutorial process beneath the still-lingering banner of "tot-mom" Casey Anthony. Oh, no.

Instead of repeating the same tired stump lines that both candidates for Orange-Osceola County state attorney already repeat over and over in public appearances, we decided to treat current officeholder Lawson Lamar and his scrappy opponent Jeff Ashton like regular people – the kind we might go on lunch dates with – so we could get to see the men behind the rhetoric.

Would they wear cologne, compliment our shoes, spit pieces of cheese without knowing it? These are the things that really matter: Are your state attorney candidates dreamboat dating material? Are they pin-up princes worthy of after-school fan fiction?

Well, no. But it was worth a go, right?

Lawson Lamar

Ah, the glorious splendor of a rustic Italian eatery on a Wednesday at high noon. There's the clink-clank of silverware amid the wafts of garlic, the panic of servers rushing to meet the time constraints of the clocked-out lunch crews, and then – in a space where sense and sensibility collide, precisely at the back left corner of Il Pescatore off of Primrose Drive – there's Orange-Osceola County state attorney (and state attorney hopeful!), Lawson Lamar, flanked by a flack and forcing an uncharacteristic smile. But is it uncharacteristic? We wouldn't know. Lamar hasn't had to do much public pavement pounding for the last 23 years he's served on the prosecutorial throne. The man is a mystery waiting to be solved.

"I have handcuffs," he says as I scooch into what I understand to be his private booth. Uh-oh.

The occasion for this awkward meeting of the minds is not lost on anyone here, but Lamar is quick to point out that, due to his typically private nature and extremely heavy workload down at the courthouse, he's not much for this campaigning stuff. Generally perceived as a sort of grumpy uncle with morality (er, military) tattoos hidden beneath his tighty-whities, a workhorse with nascent political ambitions, a general of an imaginary army, Lamar is at once controlling (he does like to talk over you) and charming – even if he doesn't want to be on this date.

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