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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

While it may be hard to follow up physical comedy with contentious stump speaking, Ashton makes the most of it, repeating the words "efficiency" and "bureaucracy" at least 20 times in describing the failed morale of the state attorney's office under Lamar. In Ashton's approximation, the whole office is a shambles of lowest common denominators dictating policy – if one person is lazy, every person is lazy – thanks in no small part to a lack of technological innovation. "Oh, yeah. [The leadership does] not trust the lawyers. That's why they didn't have the Internet until last year. And that lack of trust is clearly communicated to them," he says.

But not directly by Lamar, Ashton says. In fact, Lamar reminds Ashton of the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz, though surely not in a friend-of-Dorothy kind of way. He's never there when you need him.

"The problem is that unfortunately for 40 years, no one's noticed what the state attorney's office does," he says, putting his napkin on his plate. "And thanks to [the Casey Anthony] case, people are now paying attention. It's sad that the office-holder is disturbed by the fact that people are paying attention to his job now. Every employee in the state attorney's office gets a performance evaluation. I have three or four in my life. Lawson's never had one. This is his."

And with that, Ashton is rushed off to a photo-op at a forensics lab in order to demonstrate his prosecutorial aplomb. He is running late.

"He drives fast," his flack assures me. Hopefully not fast enough to break the law!

Jeff Ashton
Menu Choice: Club Sandwich ($5.50)
Fundraising: $61,000
Biggest jab at opponent: "Apparently he only fears largely African-American audiences, because those are the [events] he drops out of."
Overall datability: ★★

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